Guest column: A special day at the ballpark

ALAN  DIMMIT 
 The Sand Gnats entourage at the ballpark, with Twins mascot TC and a very special mom, Connie Belyea, right.

ALAN DIMMIT The Sand Gnats entourage at the ballpark, with Twins mascot TC and a very special mom, Connie Belyea, right.

Photo with no caption

Guest commentary

Bad news seems to surround us.

So many acts of kindness and courage occur behind the scenes that when we see something wonderful happen I think it's a good idea to share it with the community.

This is why I'm motivated to highlight a recent event which serves as an example of what makes our Southwest Florida community so charming and strong.

My 7-year-old son, Charlie, plays baseball in the Bonita Springs Little League. He's a proud (and sometimes loud) member of the Sand Gnats team.

Carrie Belyea, the mom of one of his teammates and fellow classmates, is in the fight of her life battling cancer. Carrie was given the opportunity to have a wish fulfilled by Hope Hospice's Hopeful Wish program. Knowing her son's love for baseball, this caring mom wished that her son, Richie, be given the opportunity to meet a professional baseball player.

Carrie's wish was granted for the last spring training game for the Minnesota Twins.

The date of the game with the Pittsburgh Pirates was also game day for the Sand Gnats versus the Braves, but the Sand Gnats' game was postponed in favor of making lifelong memories off the Little League field and on the bigger field of life.

The Sand Gnats team was invited to meet the big leaguers.

The Sand Gnats arrived in their uniforms, fully geared, gloves ready, eyes wide and excitement pumping!

The Sand Gnats and Richie's mom were brought onto the Hammond Stadium field and were warmly greeted by Steve Liddle, the Twins' third-base coach.

The amazed kids were invited to help the major leaguers warm up for their game. The boys watched in amazement as baseballs whizzed by — awed by the feeling of being so close to the action. They cheered at the crack of the bats and jumped with joy while watching the batters smacking the ball out of the park.

For these few cherished moments in time, all the stressors of life seemed to disappear. Famous big leaguers shared their love of the game, talked baseball and traded pointers with a bunch of scrappy kids. Just before game time, the Twins autographed balls, gloves, bats and ball caps to the glowing delight of the kids and Carrie, that one special mom.

As I sat back and watched the scene, it was clear to me that this is what all children and families need — a community that connects across gaps and embraces them, both in good and hard times.

I was humbled and inspired at the selfless request of an ill mother who, when asked what wish she would like granted, thought first of making her child a bit happier.

I was thankful for Hope HealthCare Services and their donors for granting her wish. This magical day was then made possible by the efforts of the Minnesota Twins, Fort Myers Miracle and Little League coaches Todd Vail and Tony Votta.

In my view, this real-life drama reveals so much about our people and is the best reason any business should locate, invest resources and bring new jobs to our beautiful Southwest Florida community: We believe in family and the value of teamwork!

We should all look around us to see examples of human compassion in our community and the blessings of teamwork. And when we do experience such special events, we should find every opportunity to share the good with others.

See you at the ball park, Sand Gnats!

Dimmit is the founder, president and CEO of Liberty Youth Ranch in Bonita Springs. He may be reached at alan@LibertyYouthRanch.org.

© 2012 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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