Rotary hits Miracle League ‘grand slam’

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Foundation president David Darby, right, presents a $10,000 check to Dwight Mikel.

The Andalusia Rotary Club Foundation Tuesday night became the first non-government group to hit a “grand slam” in the fundraising effort for Miracle League of Covington County when it presented a $10,000 check to the effort.

The presentation was made during the Rotary Club’s annual awards banquet, at which it gave more than $26,000 to charitable causes.

Miracle League 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.

Rotary Foundation Board president David Darby said members of the board looked for projects to support that were “broad and deep,” and would better the lives of many. Darby said the foundation generally doesn’t make contributions as large as the one to Miracle League, but board members felt it important for Rotarians to show leadership in the fundraising effort for this project.

The Rotary Club Foundation also has partnered with the Miracle League effort as a conduit for donations and pledges to the cause. Dwight Mikel, who is coordinating the fundraising effort for the new program, said he felt many people would be more comfortable writing a check to the Rotary Club Foundation than to the city.

The City of Andalusia has committed to build the field in Johnson Park, but is seeking financial support for the project. Already, the Covington County Commission, City of Opp, Town of Sanford, and Town of Gantt have pledged their support.

The Rotary Contribution brings the total of contributions and pledges received to $82,100. The project is expected to cost $450,000.

Contributors, who will be recognized each weekend in The Star-News, are designated as:

• Grand Slam – $10,000 and up

• Homerun – $5,000 – $9,999

• Triple – $2,500 – $4,999

• Double – $1,250 – $2,499

• Base hit – $600 – $1,249

• RBI – $1 to $599