12 year old Tommy Rhomberg lives in Iowa, which late this last summer suffered from a massive Derecho, which is a group of intense thunderstorms and windstorms; essentially an inland hurricane. The derecho struck the Midwest in mid-August, and killed at least two people. It also left hundreds of thousands of people without power, and destroyed millions of acres of crops. It is estimated that this storm did some $7.5 billion in damage in the state.
Tommy saw the devastation that it left in its wake, and while he was thinking about that he came up with an idea for how to make one of his friends a nice gift for his birthday. He crafted a baseball bat out of a tree branch that fell in his yard because of the storm. He called it The Great Derecho Bat. That first bat took Tommy 10 hours to whittle and sand down out of that tree branch, and left him not very interested in making more.
Others found out about it, however, and expressed interest to Tommy in having their own. He eventually determined he might be able to do some good with this newfound interest; “I didn’t know people would be so interested,” he said on his website. “But since so many people in our area need help after the storm, let’s work together to make a difference for them.”
He began selling the bats and offering a portion of the proceeds to the people in need in the community. That’s according to his website, TheGreatDerecho.com, which lists the bats for $100.00, promising $20 from each purchase to the Greater Cedar Rapids Foundation Disaster Relief Fund.
Each new bat he makes also comes from wood knocked down by the storm, and so far the young man has made and sold 113 baseball bats, raising more than $2,500 for relief efforts.
There’s currently a wait list on the website, with no promise that more bats will be made. The young man still has 6th grade to get through, but he does say he would like to keep making bats. His efforts to help his neighbours are exactly why this is your Good News Story of the Day, which you can find here.
There are times we can’t do anything to help directly; but fundraising is almost always an option. And when you are like Tommy, that’s no small thing. “We got kind of lucky with the derecho. We didn’t have any damage, but just driving around town there were people with half their house destroyed, and I just wanted to raise money so we could help them, help people rebuild,” Tommy said. “I feel like it’s really helping people.”
Story and Image from People.