Volunteers tasked with raising $450K for Miracle League

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hundreds of Covington County residents will receive personal letters from members of a Project Miracle Team, asking them to pledge $10 a month for five years to the Miracle League of Covington County.

Dwight Mikel and Barbara Tyler are leading fundraising efforts for Miracle League, which removes the barriers that keep children with mental and physical disabilities off the baseball field and lets them experience baseball.

Children play on custom-designed, rubberized turf fields that accommodate wheelchairs and other assertive devices. The league uses a “buddy” system, pairing each player with an able-bodied peer. More than 500 potential Miracle League players have been identified in Covington County.

The City of Andalusia has committed to build the field in Johnson Park, but is seeking financial support for the project.

That’s why David Baker, Emily Mitchell, Sandy Bryant, Frankie McVay, Stephanie Nelson, Beth Taylor, Bob O’Neal, Brandi Thomasson, Carolyn Graham, Debbie Foley Rossell and John Thomas – all members of the Project Miracle Team – are writing to a few hundred of their closest friends.

Mikel said the letters will include pledge cards with a basic request of $10 per month during the five-year period.

The Project Miracle Team is partnering with the Andalusia Rotary Club Foundation for the effort. Mikel said he felt many people would be more comfortable writing a check to the Rotary Club Foundation than to the city. A similar partnership was used to raise money for Dream Park several years ago.

Already, the effort has received pledges from the City of Opp, Town of Sanford, Covington County Commission, and the Town of Gantt. As well, a fundraiser netted $3,500 for the facility.

The Miracle League of Covington County also is a finalist for a grant from Major League Baseball’s Tomorrow Fund, and the executive director has scheduled a site visit to the park in May.

Still, it will take donations large and small from many, many people to make the $450,000 dream a reality, Mikel said.

“If you don’t receive a letter, don’t think we don’t need your support,” Mikel said. “You can contact Barbara or myself, or send a contribution.”

Mikel is working with former UA Coach Gene Stallings as a possible speaker for a local fundraiser for the project this summer.

The Star-News will publish an honor roll of contributors to the project each week until the fundraising goal is met.

Contributions to the Miracle League of Covington County can be sent to the Andalusia Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 1971, Andalusia, AL 36420.