OSWEGO — A beloved Lockport priest who has dedicated his life to helping others was honored recently by the New York State Baseball Umpires Association as the top umpire in all of New York state.
Fr. Jerry Bartko, a long-time member of the Lockport Umpires Association and a Catholic priest, member of Oblates of St. Francis of DeSales, received the Tony DeVivo “Umpire of the Year “ award at the state umpire's association annual banquet last week at the Quality Inn.
The long time DeSales High School teacher has umpired for 40-plus years, “with dedication and distinction to the Lockport chapter,” said Dave Davidson of the LUA.
A distinguished member of the board of directors the Lockport Umpire chapter, Fr. Bartko also takes the time to serve as a counselor at the Niagara County Jail as well as staying active with the Lockport Youth Bureau.
He's a long time Western New York football, soccer and basketball referee.
Fr. Bartko thanked his parents, his sister and brother-in-law who were in attendance.
And he also thanked God, as well as all the umpires he has worked with over the years, especially Mike Stover, Tim Pierce, Chuck Lingle, Tony Nemi, Dennis Stachera and Joe Kibler.
Attending the banquet were a large contingent of Lockport umpires. Lingle presented Fr. Bartko with the award.
“This award was well deserved after a distinguished career,” Lingle said.