MADISON COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18) — On Monday afternoon the Eastern Kentucky University baseball team hit the gym, not for a workout or practice, but to step up to the plate in a different way.
Coaches and players washed feet and gave out brand new shoes as a part of the Samaritan’s Feet National Day of Service. The team’s head coach brought the event to campus four years ago.
“It gives them confidence. You know kids, especially some of the ages we see, they're going through that stage in life where confidence is tough,” said senior (redshirt junior) pitcher Darren Williams.
About 350 Madison County kids left with smiles. Teacher and mom Likita Shields said this event means the world.
“When you're a mom of four it's really difficult sometimes to buy new shoes as fast as they grow. It's been such a blessing to my family to be able to get shoes here,” said Shields.
In just a few short weeks the team will compete in their season opener. But Head Coach Edwin Thompson says more than just preparing his players for baseball, he wants to prepare them for life.
“That's our goal as a program just to make sure we're doing things the right way, enjoying things, but ultimately develop us as humans. If you can be better to your neighbor, hey, I know I've done my job as a coach,” said Thompson.
The team is coming off back to back 30 win seasons.
Their plans to capture an OVC Championship this spring are only overshadowed by plans to be championship people, and build relationships along the way.
“It's important to the community, we need to get out there. It's our duty, it's what we should do. We're blessed with so many things throughout the year we need to give back,” said Williams.
“When we go to the games we see the coach and he comes up to us and says ‘hi’ so it’s really been a blessing for my kids. Coming from a state where we didn’t know anybody, we now have a family within a family,” said Shields.
Coach Thompson tells us there are still kids signed up who they weren’t able to help at Monday’s event.
If you’d like to donate to buying shoes for additional kids in need: click here.