Miracle League pushes forward with building plan
By James Peacemaker, Jr. Managing Editor
Apr 11, 2014, 13:39
JAMES PEACEMAKER JR./HOPEWELL NEWS/NEWS-PATRIOT Employees at Franklin Federal Savings Bank presented Miracle League of Richmond with a $5,000 check.
CHESTERFIELD — The season swings back into action this weekend for Miracle League.
But during the offseason, area businesses and organizations have rallied behind the group to help the league in their plan to build new bathrooms at their field in Chester.
Miracle League is a baseball league for children with mental and physical disabilities. They have a custom rubberized field alongside other sports fields next to L.C. Bird High School. Buddies help lead the players through the action.
Every player gets on base and every player scores in each of the three innings -- that is unless they have to go to the bathroom.
“The problem is most of the kids have some level of mobility issue and the bathrooms are all the way across the parking lot … and they’re not designed for special-needs kids,” said John Tillee, whose son Eli plays in Miracle League.
The kids basically have to miss an inning if they have to use the bathroom, Tillee said.
“Now they’ll be able to use the facility without disrupting their whole game,” he said.
The Miracle League of Richmond Founder and President Karen Pusey said the group is working to raise $147,000 for a new bathroom. They have raised more than three-quarters of that. She said companies have offered to donate their services such as plumbing and engineering to help with the project.
Pusey said they have raised enough money to move forward with the project and work will be going on during the season and hopefully be ready for the fall.
Pusey said in addition to raising money for the bathroom, it costs about $10,000 a year to keep the league running. That pays for insurance, uniforms and other expenses. The organization is 100-percent volunteer run.
Major donations to the Miracle League recently came from Franklin Federal Savings Bank in Chester and the Chesterfield Kiwanis Club while another big fundraiser is set to be held by the Primrose School at Ironbridge Corner on April 26.
During a ceremony in January, Jennifer Merritt with Franklin Federal Savings Bank, discussed their new program called Pillars of Our Community.
Their foundation gives away hundreds of thousands of dollars away each year but they were looking for a way the people at the individual branches could see first-hand the good that they do. So through this program, each branch adopts an organization for a year.
This year, the Ironbridge branch chose Miracle League and gave them $5,000.
Miracle League players, parents and volunteers came out in force to show their thanks.
“You’ve just really impacted my life in letting me play in this league,” said Eli, who also sings the national anthem, at the games.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO From left, Fred Smith, Chesterfield Kiwanis Treasurer; Anna Guthrie, Player with MLOR; Lori Guthrie, Anna’s Mother; Karen Pusey, Miracle League of Richmond President; Charles Adams, Chesterfield Kiwanis President.
Jamie Mann said her daughter, Maddie, is homebound due to medical issues and doesn’t get a lot of interaction. Maddie played in the league for the first time last year.
“Daddy has been a little protective of her and I’ve kind of pushed him the last couple of years about her playing and let her play last year. It’s quite humbling. We walked off, got in the vehicle and I cried all the way home,” Jamie Mann said.
She said the best part is being able to see her daughter playing outside with the other kids.
“You know those children over there in the field where it is set, it’s in the middle of all those other ballfields. So there are other children that will come over and watch them play,” she said.
Karen Pusey said the players and the buddies get a lot out of the experience.
She said last year there were more than a 100 kids playing. When they first started in 2007 there were 18 children.
“Just hearing all these children talk about the joy that Miracle League of Richmond has brought them, and meeting with the parents, I feel so good that we have selected Miracle League as our charity,” said Brenda Evans with Franklin Federal Savings Bank.
The Chester Kiwanis also donated $5,000 to the Miracle League.
Since the goal of Kiwanis is “serving the children of the world,” the mission of the Miracle League seemed like a perfect match, according to the organization. The Kiwanis Club of Chesterfield has also donated $2,500 to Miracle League each of the last two years.
This year the Kiwanis were able to present the Miracle League of Richmond with a check for $5,000. This was made possible by a contribution of $2,500 from The Bon Secours Richmond Health System and money raised at The Kiwanis Club of Chesterfield’s “Diamonds ‘n Dice” Casino Night. That included a $1,000 donation from the Children’s Hospital Foundation as an event sponsor and numerous other sponsors and donors.
Sponsors included Children’s Hospital Foundation, Diamonds Direct, Communications Specialists, Inc., A. James Kauffman of Cherry, Seymour and Baronian, PC, Keiter, AAA Mid-Atlantic, Essex Bank, Argent Credit Union, the McNeil Law Group, The Flying Squirrels, Charles Adams, Sara Bateman, Martin Miller, Andy Sanborn, Fred and Connie Smith and Bill Via. Silent Auction donors included Cliff Bruce Studio, Fink’s Jewelers, W. Baxter Perkinson, Jr., Independence Golf Club, UR Spiders, Mosaic Restaurant, The Flying Squirrels, AAA Mid- Atlantic, Vino Market, Steven’s Jewelers, Shawn Smith, Kathy Lagana and Avis Fleming. Prize donors included American Family Fitness, Awful Arthur’s Seafood Restaurant, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, Belle Vie Belgian Bistro, Cakes by Graham, Classic Touch Cleaning, Edible Arrangements, Fleurir Chocolates, Hard Shell Restaurant ,Martin’s, Brenda Stankus , Sedona Taphouse, The Melting Pot, The Fresh Market, The Tobacco Company, Velocity Motorcycles and the Wicked Whisk Bakery.
Meanwhile, Primrose School at Ironbridge Corner is set to host a Spring Fling fundraiser for Miracle League of Richmond on Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
There will be carnival-style activities such as a moonbounce, cupcake decorating, chuck-a-duck and much more. The Primrose School at Ironbridge Corner is located at 11351 Iron Creek Pkwy, Chester, Va., just across Route 10 from Ironbridge Sports Park. Parking is available at the Cultural Center of India located just down the street.
Proceeds will go to the Miracle League of Richmond and the Primrose Children’s Foundation, which provides support to organizations that focus on the needs of young children and their families. For more information, visit www.primroseironbridgecorner.com or call 804-751-0233.
If you are interested in volunteering or making a donation to Miracle League of Richmond, visit www.miracleleagueofrichmond.com or call 804-229-4966.