After a 140 MPH “derecho” storm tore through his town in Iowa, 12 Year Old Tommy Rhomberg decided to help victims recover. And he has done it with baseball bats. Yes, baseball bats! Let’s find out how.
As Tommy told CBS News, he felt like he needed to do something when he realized how lucky his family had been. “We didn’t have, like, 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.”
The Birth of The Great Derecho
It started with a friend of Tommy’s whose birthday party was canceled because of the storm. Because his friend loved baseball, he decided to make him a bat, by hand. Tommy named it “The Great Derecho.”
“I just wanted to make a nice gift for my friend. I didn’t know people would be so interested. But, since so many people in our area need help after the storm, let’s work together to make a difference for them.”
Word started to travel about Tommy Rhomberg’s “Great Derecho” bat. Others wanted to order one.
Tommy had an idea. There were literally tons of wood that had been downed by the storm. What if he could make bats from these fallen trees?
Hitting a Home Run
So, with help from his family, he purchased a lathe, a machine for shaping wood. Since the storm, in his time after school, Tommy has been hard at work making bats. He also set up a website and Facebook page to support sales of the wooden bats.
So far, he has made over 100 bats and donated more than $2,500 to help storm victims rebuild!
Tommy’s creativity, selflessness, and proactivity are a great example of using your gifts to help others in a time of need. Check out the inspiring video that tells Tommy’s story. And learn more about Tommy and how you can help below.
- Learn more about Tommy’s efforts and buy a bat at “The Great Derecho” website or on his Facebook page
- Watch other great IMK stories about children and adults who exhibit caring
- Read IMK’s list of great quotes for kids about caring, being proactive
- Check out other IMK stories related to the great sport of Baseball
- What is a derecho storm? Learn more about them thanks to NatGeo
Topics for Discussion:
- What character traits does Tommy exhibit?
- Why was Tommy inspired to take action and do something to help his community?
- What talents and interests do you have that could help others?
- Make a donation or buy a bat at The Great Derecho website
- Think about something you are passionate about (like baseball). Think about someone in need. Imagine ways you might be able to help them. Go do it!!!
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
- Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.