UNION — What started as an attempt by friends to send a care package to a deployed National Guardsman in Kosovo turned into a mission to make a difference in the lives of special needs children in Union County.
On Oct. 22, James Harris prepared to send a care package to his lifelong friend Randall Wright, who is currently serving his second tour in Kosovo. Harris emailed Wright to ask him what he would like in the package, and Wright replied to Harris with the following response:
“Look brother, I have been thinking! I have been very blessed and have everything I need. If you guys really want to do something for me take up a $1 donation from all your Facebook friends and donate it to the Miracle League ball field in the name of the Union NCO Club. Now that would mean a lot to me. Thank you for what you are trying to do, and I love you for it. I will start by giving the first two dollars for Misty and me. Let me know if this is something you are interested in.”
Harris said the message really hit home.
“Here he is overseas, giving up his freedom, giving up everything he’s ever known, missing his wife, his two boys and baby girl, but he still has the presence of mind to think about others and not himself.” Harris said. “Wow.”
When Harris read Wright’s response, he immediately called another friend — Will Hickson — to help with the effort. Harris, Hickson and Wright have been friends since childhood. They played Little League baseball together, and as adults they often gather to watch games or play fantasy football.
“Randall has always been a caring and giving person,” Hickson said. “He’s always loved baseball. He coached Pony League before he ever had children. He just did it for the love of the game and the love of children. That’s the type of selflessness he’s always shown.”
“Instead of being sent items in a care package, he wants something sent to the Miracle League,” Hickson added. “How outstanding is that — to be that selfless.”
Wright commented about the Miracle League of Union County via Facebook.
“I have struggled with the words to explain how much this actually means to me,” he stated.
Wright mentioned that since the word of this effort has spread through Facebook, one of the comments he received was from someone who wrote, “I never realized you had a special needs child.”
“My response was all children have special needs and it’s our responsibility to do everything in our power to ensure that those needs are met,” Wright said.
Harris said he was inspired to start giving more back to the community after his friend who is 7,000 miles away made such a gesture.
“I thought to myself, I have to do something in honor of him — in honor of his dream and his commitment to giving children with developmental disabilities and special needs the chance to play baseball,” Harris said. “It sounds so simple, but that’s what makes this even more phenomenal. It’s the small things that mean the most to the children of the Miracle League. In my opinion it’s time for us to be as selfless as he and many others have so willingly done!”
Harris and his father, Eddie Harris, have established a bank account at Wells Fargo to make donating easy for those who want to contribute. Contributors can visit any Wells Fargo location nationwide — or mail a check to Union’s Wells Fargo at 200 E. Main St., Union, S.C. 29379 — and must specify the donation is for the account named “Making Miracles in Union from Kosovo.”
“We simply ask people to look within their hearts and donate what they can,” Harris said. “Whether is a dollar or a hundred, it’s all anonymous and most importantly going to an unbelievable cause.”
Staff Writer Derik Vanderford can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 29, or by email at email@example.com.