A few years ago, Scott DeBerry of Uniontown needed a French drain around his home, but there really wasn’t room to bring a backhoe in to do the digging.
“He hand-dug the whole perimeter. That was an incredible amount of work for one person,” said Shawn Bernarding of Dormont. “He’s generous and kind. He’s driven all the way to Pittsburgh more times than I can count to help me with things around the house, and he even saved me when a contractor I hired left my job unfinished.”
DeBerry, a teacher and baseball coach at Laurel Highlands High School, was scheduled for colon surgery in June, during which surgeons discovered stage four metastatic gastric adenocarcinoma, or stomach cancer. He died July 31.
DeBerry served as Laurel Highlands’ head baseball coach for the past eight years.
“He was competitive and loved to coach. He loved coaching, and the boys he coached more than people realize,” said Bernarding, who has known DeBerry’s wife, Melissa, for two decades and considered him a close friend.
“We’ve vacationed together, gone to Steeler and Pirate playoff games together and many other things,” Bernarding added. “They’re like family.”
Folks in and around Laurel Highlands and the baseball program knew him as “Debo.”
“Scott rebuilt the baseball program at Laurel Highlands and, speaking for the many players who have reached out, the LH baseball experience (will) not be the same without him,” Bernarding wrote as part of a GoFundMe page set up to help with DeBerry’s medical bills.
In the span of less than a week, the page exceeded its $25,000 goal by more than $12,000, a testament to DeBerry’s ability to touch the lives of others.
“He was an amazing person and one of the smartest people I’ve ever met,” Bernarding said. “Scott was just a great human being. Period.”
A candlelight vigil, “Light the Field for Debo,” is set to take place at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Hutchinson Park, 65 Reservoir Road in Uniontown.