Thursday, August 16, 2012
When he’s not in the operating room, pediatric surgeon Dr. Pete Kelley can most likely be found on or near the Signal Mountain High School athletic facilities, which he voluntarily helps maintain and improve.
“My wife likes to joke that it’s my second job,” said Kelley, who spends approximately 12-16 hours every week year-round working on the fields.
Maintaining the football field is a community effort, said Kelley, who is assisted by Steve Shirk in fertilizing the fields and borrows specialized equipment from Signal Mountain Golf and Country Club Superintendent Pat Rose to keep the field’s Bermuda turf in tip-top shape.
“I look at the football field as the great stage for the football team to perform,” said Kelley. “It’s important to have a proper stage on which to perform, so that’s why I take care of the field.”
He is also one of many parent volunteers who have helped make bathroom facilities at the stadium a near-reality this season. Kelley said he probably spent an additional 40 hours per week at the school this summer as the bathroom facilities were being constructed.
“I really like SMHS and feel fortunate to have the high school up there on the mountain,” said Kelley, whose daughters graduated from the school in ‘11 and ‘12 but did not participate in athletics.
He said he feels parental involvement is essential to a good school, and also believes a good school is beneficial to all members of the community, whether or not they have children currently enrolled.
“All really good, exceptional schools have a really high level of community support,” he said. “Even though my kids have already graduated, the school still has that need.”
Having a good school in the community keeps property values up and gives the community a sense of pride and a team to rally around, said Kelley.
“I love football, especially high school football, and I saw there was a need for work on the football fields,” said Kelley, who also volunteers his time to serve as team physician. “[Hamilton County Department of Education] doesn’t have the funds or the resources to put into athletic projects, so most of the work done on the athletic facilities is done by parents, coaches and the Sports Boosters at their own expense.”