By Rachel Hoeing
“The smiles on the kid’s faces during the game is priceless. There usually is not a dry eye in the stands when everyone sees these children having the time of their lives,” Debbie DeLoach, one of the founders of the Heroes League.
Having a brother who plays baseball, Debbie DeLoach wanted her son, Robert (age 5) with special needs, to have the same opportunity in an organization she had grown to love, Summerfield Recreation Association. She had heard of other leagues of this type in Greensboro and High Point, but wanted to have Robert be able to play in a league that his brother played in as well. She knew it would be wonderful if they would both be a part of SRA.
In the fall of 2014, Debbie spoke with Barry Wesoly, president of SRA, about her hopes. Little did she know, there was a woman named Amy Quintana who had this same idea and same hope for her special needs daughter, Sarah (age 10), to play ball in the same league as her own brother. Amy had spoken with Glen Garner, VP of baseball, within weeks of Debbie talking to Barry.
By an act of fate, Amy and Debbie were connected and the Heroes League was born! In addition to the obvious benefits to local children, another goal of the league is to donate funds raised to a different organization each season.
The first Heroes game was played in May of 2015. It was amazing! Parents and children alike had the time of their lives. The ladies knew that the Heroes League was going to be a success.
In a turn of events, Debbie’s son passed away unexpectedly in September. The league knew immediately that they wanted to rename themselves to honor his memory. It is now called the Robert DeLoach Heroes League.
This past fall, proceeds raised from the sale of shirts and silent auction items displayed during the game as well as donations from many individuals and businesses all went to the 22q and You Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in memory of Robert.
Boys and girls ages 4-17 with all disabilities are invited to play baseball/softball. They can bring a helper, or one will be provided, if needed. It is currently a one day event, but Debbie and Amy hope it will grow into several games through the typical baseball season. They play several innings and everyone has a chance to bat and score each inning! There is no cost to the families of the player and each player receives a shirt, hat and an award.
If you have a child who would like to play, or if you would like an opportunity to volunteer, you can email SRAHeroesLeague@gmail.com or sign up on the website, www.summerfieldrec.org. For now, the games will be played in Summerfield, but players from all over the Triad are invited to join. The volunteer opportunities range from sponsorship, day of registration, on field assisting, Dug-out Help to Cheering from the stands. As the event grows, there will be more volunteer needs.
Amy says, “We have had so many parents tell us how they are so grateful to be able to have their kids just be kids for a day, to be able to play and have fun, and show their awesome abilities!”
TMoM thanks you, Amy and Debbie, for the difference you are making in others’ lives and for the opportunity you are presenting to children!
- Photo Credits: Strawbridge Studios and Capturing Happy Photography
Check out other “Doing Good Things” blogs here:
“Doing Good Things Series” – H.O.P.E
“Doing Good Things Series”- Empowered Girls of North Carolina
“Doing Good Things Series” – The Speech Bus
“Doing Good Things Series” – Buddy Break