UNION — When you buy lunch at Tubozzzz this week, you’re not only getting a meal, you’re helping to make some very special people’s dreams come true.
Earlier this year, Union County Council voted unanimously to allow the Miracle League of Union County to use Field No. 1 at the Timken Sports Complex. The motion also permitted the league to apply to the county for State Parks And Recreation Department (PARD) funds to help cover the cost of adapting the field for the special needs athletes who will be playing on it. The motion also states that the balance of the cost of adapting the field will be covered by funds raised by the league.
The field must be modified to make it a low-impact surface, allowing disabled children and adults to play baseball. The field will be completely flat and will support any mobility aid including walkers and wheelchairs. The estimated cost of the project is $250,000.
Since then, the league has been working to raise the funds necessary to modify the field and it got a big leg up in raising that amount from Union City Council which voted in October to donate $50,000 from the city’s Hospitality and Accommodations Tax revenue to the project.
Also in October, the league received a $25,000 grant from the Timken Family Foundation of Canton, Ohio. In awarding the grant, the foundation issued a challenge to the people of Union County that if $60,000 was raised for the project by Aug. 13, 2013, it would match those funds with an additional $60,000.
Amy Austing, league executive director, said that since then the league has managed with the help of other organizations to raise $20,000 of the challenge amount.
The league is getting some helping in raising the rest of the challenge amount from Tubozzzz.
Located at 200 S. Gadberry St., Tubozzzz is open 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Owner David “Tubo” Owens has pledged 10 percent of all sales — dine-in or carryout —will be donated to the league.
The fund raising effort was organized by manager Sheri Nash who is also donating all the tips she receives this week. Nash said she was inspired by a restaurant employee, Jamie Bishop, who will be among those to play their first baseball game once the field has been modified.
“Jamie has a chromosomal disorder and its because of him that we’re doing this,” Nash said. “He graduated from high school in May and he came here to work right after graduation. He wanted to come to work and he works here three days a week, washing dishes, mopping floors, taking the trash out.
“It’s because of him that we’re doing this so that he can play on that ball field,” she said. “Jamie’s going to be able to play on that field. He’s really excited because he’s never played ball before.”
Austin thanked Tubozzzz for its efforts and for challenging other restaurants to do the same.
“We’re very appreciative of what they’re doing because this gets us one step closer,” Austin said. “Tubo also went on the radio and issued a challenge to the other restaurants to raise money for Miracle League.”
Austin said she and other league members have been helping out at the restaurant this week, providing the customers with tea and water. She said Tubozzzz has also allowed the league to sell its long-sleeved winter shirts with Clemson, Carolina and Union colors at the restaurant.
Tubozzzz will donate the funds it has raised to the league Friday afternoon.
Austin said the league is getting closer to meeting its fund raising goal and she believes the field could be modified and ready for play well before the end of 2013.
“The board met this week and we’re almost halfway to meeting the $60,000 challenge issued by the Timken Family Foundation of Canton, Ohio,” Austin said. “Once we get that we’ll have reached our $250,000 goal and should be able to play ball next year.”
In addition to the Tubozzzz effort, Austin said the Union Civitan Club is holding “Christmas at the Mansion” this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Nicholson Mansion.
“Tickets are $10 per person and include lunch, a tour of the first floor, a raffle ticket for different prizes, and photos with Frosty the Snowman,” Austin said. “The photos are being provided by Little Angels Portrait Studio and you can get your kids picture taken with Frosty or you can have a family portrait with or without Frosty. The photos will be placed on CD on site.”
Austin said the league will be selling tickets for Christmas at the Mansion this evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Main Street during Christmas Open House. Tickets can also be obtained at Little Angels Portrait Studio on the Duncan Bypass.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at email@example.com