In the last handful of weeks, many families in northern California have had their lives flipped upside down. Due to the intense raging fires in the area, communities all over the North Bay have seen their homes and possessions destroyed, with few answers as to how they will move forward from the lives they knew.
These types of natural disasters take an even harder toll on kids, who often are unable to comprehend the level of tragedy that occurs almost out of nowhere. For one young baseball fan from Santa Rosa, losing his most prized possessions was saddening, but it did not dampen his spirit.
Loren Smith, a 9-year-old boy who is as big of an Oakland Athletics fan as you could be, lost just about everything in the fires. His baseball card collection, gone. His 17 jerseys and 10 A’s hats, gone. His baseball signed by the whole team, including Rickey Henderson and Bob Melvin, gone.
— Katie Utehs (@KatieUtehs) October 15, 2017
So Loren decided to write a letter to the A’s telling them how much of a super-fan he is. He described how he used to recreate games in his backyard, leading his favorite team to six straight World Series victories. He told them how he’s been teaching his nine-month-old little brother how to throw a baseball, and even how proud he was to own every Athletics player card since 2000, even though he is only 9.
Thanks to some quality local news reporting, Loren’s story began to gain some traction. This was thanks in part to his infectious positivity, which you can see an example of below. One reporter asked him to give them his best A’s home run broadcast call, and he was more than happy to do so.
— Melanie Woodrow (@MelanieWoodrow) October 16, 2017
When his story inevitably reached the Athletics organization, they were more than willing to help out their young supporter.
“This is so touching. So sad to hear about their loss. We would be happy to completely outfit the family in new Athletics gear,” Athletics president Dave Kaval said.
And not only did they offer the new merchandise, but they also made a post on their Twitter page to ask for any other contributions that people might want to make to help replenish his memorabilia collection. With this, many strangers even began to start sending over items.
If you’d like to donate baseball memorabilia to our pal Loren, please send items to the address below and we’ll make sure they get to him. pic.twitter.com/xI3ZwWWfNA
— A’s, But Spooky 🌳🐘🎃 (@Athletics) October 16, 2017
But it wasn’t just the A’s who wanted to help out young Loren. The Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Red Sox were just a few of the other teams that began to send packages his way. Now, they all weren’t going to send him Athletics items, but now Loren has a lot more variety than he could’ve ever dreamed of.
These are the sort of stories that help show that in times of struggle, there are many others who are willing to do what they can to help improve the victims’ spirits. For a case like Loren’s, it’s amazing to see the response he’s gotten from all over the country, especially because he himself has shown an overwhelming level of resiliency.