Peggy and Chico Gress spend a lot of time at Riverfront Stadium in Waterloo. For 18 years, the Gress family has hosted at least one player from the Bucks baseball team.
This season, Peggy and Chico are hosting 19-year-old Blake Hickman. He from Illinois, and he just finished his freshman year at the University of Iowa.
"Peggy, she's so caring and Chico loves to talk baseball, just like Peggy. When I first met them, we went out to eat and talked baseball the whole time. It was awesome," said Blake Hickman.
In addition to offering up their house, Peggy and Chico also attend almost every home Bucks game.
Peggy took her dedication to the team a step farther this summer. The team was playing a couple games in St. Cloud before heading to Canada to play Thunder Bay.
When the team left for the road trip, Blake Hickman's passport hadn't arrived yet.
"I told him if you can talk it over with the team and at least go to St. Cloud, and if it didn't show up I can pick him up and bring him home. If it did I'd bring it up, and that's what I did," said Peggy Gress.
Bucks General Manager Dan Corbin said the Northwoods League couldn't exist without host families like Peggy and Chico Gress.
"These kids are still in college so we're not paying them any money. There's no salary for them, and this is just a bonus we can give them to make it easier for them to play summer baseball," said Dan Corbin.
After 18 years, Peggy and Chico Gress are still in touch with many of their former host players, including Matt Cepicky who played for the Bucks in 1997.
"One of the most memorable because he ended up the first Waterloo Buck to make it to the majors," said Chico Gress.
Cepicky made his major league debut in 2002 with the Montreal Expos.
This summer, Peggy and Chico are enjoying a winning season with the Bucks leading the division.
"We're ready for the playoffs," said Chico Gress.
Peggy and Chico will be there to cheer on the Bucks every step of the way.
Chico Gress played college baseball, and both their daughters played college softball.
Each season, the Waterloo Bucks need host families for about 30 players.
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