NEWS | April 11, 2012

Team Charleston makes miracles happen, one base at a time

By Capt. Josh Ream 14th Airlift Squadron, 437th Airlift Wing

Team Charleston takes great pride in giving back to the local community as evidenced by the thousands of hours donated by Team Charleston Airmen to the community every year.

This year, the Summerville Miracle League is the beneficiary as more than 50 volunteers from Air Force units are helping children with disabilities play baseball. The units provide volunteers to serve as "buddies" to a Cougar player during their games played every Saturday through early May.

Stemming from a Charleston-based organization, the Summerville Miracle League was developed three years ago to bring together children coping with various disabilities so they could enjoy America's favorite pastime. The Miracle League has grown every year and this year expanded to include two additional adult teams.

Organizations like the Summerville Miracle League require the coordinated efforts of countless volunteers, families and donations from community businesses, as well as money raised from game concessions to ensure a successful Saturday of baseball for the children. This year, the 437th Airlift Wing donated proceeds from the annual Commander's Cup golf tournament and elected to sponsor the Cougars team for the spring season with the goal of enhancing Airmen resiliency through service.

"We couldn't do it without all the help," said Debbie Peek, Miracle League board member. "At least 20 organizations and dozens of people are responsible for each day of baseball."

For each game, volunteers play alongside members of each team as they field, bat, run bases and cheer on their teammates from the sidelines. While each game only lasts about one hour, everyone has plenty of fun for the entire day and memories to last much longer. Some children even stay to watch and cheer for friends on other teams in the league.

The Summerville Miracle League's goal, "...to enhance the lives of people with special needs," is echoed by Peek who said, "It's really just about having fun."

Col. Erik Hansen, 437th AW commander, is not surprised by the number of volunteers.

"The goal is to help build resiliency in our Airmen while serving others in a great cause and I was doubly pleased to see Airmen from across the base respond to the call," Hansen said.