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Liberty baseball serves homes with Thanksgiving food

Each year, the baseball team at Liberty Middle School donates food for Thanksgiving to local families. They also raise money to buy Christmas gifts for children in need. (CONTRIBUTED)
Each year, the baseball team at Liberty Middle School donates food for Thanksgiving to local families. They also raise money to buy Christmas gifts for children in need. (CONTRIBUTED)

MADISON – Baseball players at Liberty Middle School cover bases reaching beyond the playing field.

At Liberty, playing baseball “is more than what’s seen on the field each spring,” Liberty baseball coach Wes Hopper said. “We make it a point to instill the importance of understanding how blessed we are to do the things we love.” Assistant coaches are John Williamson, Ray Bernal, Daniel Yocom and Bobby Steirwalt.

After considering ways to give back, the team decided on Thanksgiving meals for families. “Through a very private, respectful process, we solicited names from school personnel and players’ families who could benefit from additional assistance during the holidays,” Hopper said.

Recipients remained anonymous to the players.

To raise money, the boys completed chores and donated earnings. “The past two years, our players have donated over $700 (for) meals,” Liberty nurse Benita Tunstill said. For two families, team moms bought 20-pound turkeys, vegetables, breads and dessert ingredients.

The team also has ‘adopted’ a family with three sons for Christmas. Players divided into three ‘teams’ to shop for the modest gifts that the boys wished for.

Seventh-grader Cory Hagood said this experience “makes me feel like I’m helping those that need help during this special time of year. I look forward to helping in the future.”

For eighth-grader Ross Travis, “It was so cool! I appreciate that we were given the opportunity to help some people out. I can’t wait to do it again.”

Hopper hopes “when players finish in Liberty baseball, they understand (the importance) of not only be thankful for blessings but also have hearts willing to help others.”

Other team members are Dillion Acosta, Jacob Billups, Chris Baker, Ben Bolden, Luke Blades, Jacob Cianciotto, Landon Brown, Joseph Crosson, Jackson Burchfield, Alex Forrest, Josh Cianciotto, Evan Jacklin, Braden Cobb, Zachary Hopkins, William Davis, Austin McGhee, Andrew Potter, Jayce Ingalls, Jackson Reese, Sam Johnson, Louis Russ, Dylan Kaduce, Jackson Taylor, Nathan Lane, Zachary Taylor, Joshua Mclay, John Weston Myers, Ryan Wilhelm, Garrett Nix, Gavin Wilson, Kody Shively, Jadon Sweat and Hunter Whitworth.

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