Many unique stories and tales of survival from the wildfires in Northern California have surfaced. In one instance, a couple sheltered themselves for several hours in their pool while the fire consumed their home and their neighbors’ property.
Dozens have died, and more than $1.2 billion has been lost in property damage due to the wildfires. And while the damage done is devastating for everyone affected, putting it into terms that children can understand can be a heartbreaking endeavor.
Loren Jade Smith, a 9-year-old fan of the Oakland Athletics (A's) baseball team, lost his home due to the wildfires — including his entire collection of baseball memorabilia. After he was settled elsewhere, he decided to write the team about his loss.
His letter read:
"I love watching your A’s games. I want to be an A’s player, and I play at Mark West Little League in Santa Rosa. I played baseball in my backyard all day loving the A’s and making up my own game. In my backyard, they won six World Series in a row. But my house burned down in the Santa Rosa fire, and my saddest things [were] my baseball collection cards, my 17 jerseys and 10 hats, and my baseball from the game, and also a ball signed by the whole team and Rickey [Henderson] and Bob Melvin. ... I am 9 years old [and] I had a [major] league baseball and it all burned up. So sad. I know [you’re] not all together but hope they get this."
Soon, Loren’s letter went viral. As a result, he didn’t just hear back from the Oakland A’s, but teams from across the country decided to send memorabilia packages to him.
Dave Kaval, the Athletics’ team president, responded to Loren’s letter, telling him the players would be happy to help restart his collection.
The Oakland A’s also tweeted their followers, asking them to help Loren out. Many MLB teams responded.
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
?? Just dropped all of this in the mail for you, Loren! ?? pic.twitter.com/fKmcZf6voC— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 16, 2017
Happy to pitch in...We're sending something you're way, Loren!— New York Mets (@Mets) October 16, 2017
We’ve got a Padres pack on its way for Loren—including an autographed Mark McGwire baseball ?? pic.twitter.com/IWXQ8VDUUb— San Diego Padres (@Padres) October 16, 2017
You and your family are part of our baseball family now, Loren! There’s a package on its way! Just be sure to share with your brother ?? pic.twitter.com/utbFn3uZhb— MLBPAA (@MLBPAA) October 16, 2017
Even though he lost his home, Loren said he is thrilled with the spirit of generosity that teams and fans from across the league are showing. He was happy to give out his best “home run” call after people across the country reached out to help him.
At a time when many of today's headlines cause people to scratch their heads in confusion or otherwise slump into pessimistic views of society, it's refreshing to see people from across the nation react to one child's loss with an outpouring of support.
Loren Smith's story gives many reasons to hope and reminds us that there is still plenty of good in this world to be thankful for.
Banner/Thumbnail Credit: REUTERS, Stephen Lam