Great Lakes Region Director, Tom Krajewski

Tom is a retired computer programmer analyst who worked for over 30 years at the prestigious Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. "When I graduated from Erie County Technical Institute in 1967 the computer punch card was a standard in the data processing industry. Computers were room sized machines with rather limited capabilities and speed. I lived and worked through all the technological advances that have led to desktop and laptop computers working through network server systems."

Tom's wife Karen was a secondary school math teacher in the Hamburg, NY School District. In the summer of 2000, Karen decided to take advantage of an opportunity to work as a teaching volunteer at a American English camp in Poland. It was a three week program with a tour week afterwards. The program was organized and administered by the Kosciuszko Foundation in conjunction with the Polish Ministry of Education. Tom could not leave his job for 4 weeks that summer because all computer systems were being heavily monitored for any problems associated with changes and upgrades necessary for the "Y2K" issue. A lot had to get done in preparation for the turn of the century and beyond. Tom did get to join Karen in Poland for her tour week and felt a strong connection with the country and its people. Tom's parents and grandparents were all of Polish heritage and it was very interesting to see the country of his ancestors.

Tom retired in 2001 and he joined Karen in returning to Poland for the next 3 summers working in the language camp program and then went yet another year without her. In those four summers he taught baseball as his contribution to the program. Connections were made with local Western New York teams and leagues to get used jerseys and gear for my classes. Efforts were expanded and donations of gear came to him from throughout the USA. The gear was shipped to Poland and was used in the baseball classes and activity sessions. There were over 110 students in each year's camp and they all went home with a good exposure to the sport of baseball and a new souvnir ball. It was easily the most popular class and activity each year. Along the way Tom learned of PNYBF and received some financial support for the shipping of gear to Poland. In 2002 Tom attended a PNYBF board meeting and offered to join the organization. Since that time he has been Great Lakes Region Director and concentrates his gear and fund raising efforts for PNYBF.

"There's nothing I'd like better than to find the sport of baseball thriving throughout Poland, providing the Polish youth an opportunity to participate in this wonderful sport."

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