April 4th, 2013 was opening night for the Inland Empire 66ers, and Operation: GLove was on-hand to educate the fans about our organization and request donations. We took in baseball gloves, baseballs and cash, but it was the story of one special young man that made the night special.
He arrived at the park that night, just as most 7-year-olds do, with his trusty glove and favorite ball. He didn’t know about Operation: GLove; he had just come out to spend a night with his dad. His dad approached our table and inquired as to what we were all about; and this boy stood patiently listening to every word.
After about five minutes, the boy reached out to our founder, Mike McCue, and handed him his baseball. Mike asked him about the ball and he replied that it was from his first game last week – he had earned the game ball! It was the first game ball he’d ever earned, and here he was giving it to us. Knowing how special game balls can be, especially to 7-year-olds, Mike handed it back and telling him that he should keep his ball. Without hesitation, the young man says “Those guys need it more than I do. I’ll get another one.” We just wanted to hug him right then and there!
Afterwards, he took the time to write a note to our soldiers, one that would be delivered with his ball: “Thank you for fighting to keep me and my family safe. And thank you for being a hero.” His words, his writing, no help from anyone. Kudos to his dad for raising such a good young man.