Businesspeople keep ‘Madd Hornets’ from striking out

See how generous East Portland business associations and individuals stepped up when it looked like this Mt. Hood Little League’s season was stolen from them just after it started …

Standing behind (literally) the Madd Hornets are Richard Kiely, Home Run Graphics LLC and Norm Rice, First Class Properties, two businesspeople who gathered funds to help replace the team’s equipment. Gail Kiely photo

Story by David F. Ashton
Just days after the Mt. Hood Little League season started, it looked like one of the teams, The Madd Hornets, made up of kids from inner SE Portland, would be benched this year.

Their coach, Dan Wilson, said he woke early on April 5 and found his 1992 Honda Accord had been stolen from his home. The vehicle was loaded with the team’s gear.

It looked like the Madd Hornet’s home field, Parker Field on SE 72nd and SE Harney St., would be silent this spring‚ the 9- to 12-year-olds baseball players couldn’t practice or play without their equipment.

Local businesses pitch in
The owner of a Brentwood-Darlington neighborhood commercial printing business, Richard Kiely of Home Run Graphics LLC, told us he couldn’t stand to see this team’s play canceled.

“I imagined the overwhelming disappointment these kids must be experiencing,” said Kiely. “It tugged at my heartstrings; I knew I had to do something.”

Kiely sprung into action. “I called several friends in business and told them I’d put up $250 if they’d match it to help out the team.”

As a result, on April 7, Kiely presented the team with checks from the Island Creamery ice cream store, East Portland Chamber of Commerce, realtor First Class Properties, and his business. The grand total: $1,000.

Others around the community were touched by the team’s loss; GI Joes, Big 5 Sports employees and Poulsbo RV donated equipment.

Wilson’s stolen car was recovered on April 8. Although it was clear that the thieves rifled through his vehicle, all of the baseball equipment was still inside.

Richard Kiely holds thank-you plaques and league hats he’ll distribute to the generous donors that were presented to them by the team’s coach, Dan Wilson. Gail Kiely photo

Spreading the wealth
The donated baseball gear was put to use at other teams throughout the non-profit baseball league.

The associations and businesspeople who donated cash agreed a good use of the funds would be to sponsor the registration fees for needy kids around the league. Some of the money will also be used to maintain their playing fields.

“My hope is that this generous support by the community will help the kids on the team realize that, while there will always be bad guys in the world ‚Äì the good guys outnumber the bad guys,” stated Kiely.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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