Sports

When A Young Baseball Fan Lost Everything In The California Fires, The Sports World Helped Him In An Amazing Way

by Penn Collins

October 17, 2017

As the California wildfires continue to burn, 41 lives have been lost so far and more than 200 people remain missing. Though firefighters are now making inroads toward controlling and extinguishing the fires, the damage done to California’s land, infrastructure, and citizens has been profound. 5,700 structures, most of which are homes, have been destroyed as the fire consumed 217,000 acres of northern California.

While the toll of the damage has yet to be tallied, victims of the fires have reached out to others to share both the extent of the devastation and their pleas for help. One such victim is Loren Jade Smith, a 9-year-old Oakland A’s fan whose home was destroyed by the fires. Smith sent a handwritten letter to the team, sharing both his love of the baseball club and what he and his family lost in the fire. 

The letter reads: 

“To the Oakland A’s,
I love watching your A’s games. I want to be an A’s player, and I play at Mark West Little League in Santa Rosa. I played baseball in my backyard all day loving the A’s and making up my own game. In my backyard, they won six World Series in a row. But my house burned down in the Santa Rosa fire, and my saddest things were my baseball collection cards, my 17 jerseys and 10 hats, and my baseball from the game and also a ball signed by the whole team and Rickey (Henderson) and Bob Melvin. I am 9 years old and I had a major league baseball and it all burned up, so sad. I know you’re not all together but hope they get this.”

The response to Smith’s letter has been overwhelming from both sports fans and the Oakland A’s organization. Team president Dave Kaval shared on Twitter that the club was working to contact Loren’s family to help him replace and rebuild his collection of baseball memorabilia. 

Countless organizations replied to the original tweet shared by Katie Utehs of ABC 7 News in the Bay Area. Many companies, such as Topps baseball cards, reached out to help Loren rebuild this part of his life, and countless individuals inquired where they could send some of their own A’s gear for him. 

Many inquired as to how they can help out Loren and his family, and Utehs responded to many requests by suggesting that concerned parties email the A’s organization. 

It seems as though Loren will be inundated with baseball memorabilia, but his family is still without a home and their possessions. Though no formal avenues have been promoted for financial assistance, the A’s are worked quickly to serve as a conduit for any assistance the public would like to give Loren and his family in their time of need. 

Should you want to contribute to their cause or make a donation, contributions can be sent to the address below. 

Share image via Katie Utehs/Twitter and Melanie Woodrow/Twitter.  

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