When a huge storm hit Iowa in August, 12-year-old Tommy Rhomberg wanted to help out his community but got creative about how he was going to do so. From the fallen tree limbs, Rhomberg created baseball bats to sell and then donated the proceeds.
The young kid spoke with CBS News about his news fundraising idea. “We didn’t have, like, any damage [to our home],” he said to CBS News, “but just driving around town there were people with half their house destroyed, and I just wanted to raise money so we could help them.”
He was going to give a homemade bat to his friend for his birthday because that’s his friend’s favorite sport, but he thought, “why stop there?” He decided that he could sell the bats and help his community by using wood from the branches that were knocked off trees during the storm.
Tommy gave his bats a signature name: “The Great Derecho” (also known as a “land hurricane“), a nod to the powerful storm that hit his hometown . People in his hometown began requesting bats once they heard that he was making them — even his own mother wanted a bat. “I kind of thought, ‘Oh, shoot, Tommy. I think I would like one. Would you make me one?’ And he told me ‘no,'” his mom Amanda Rhomberg told CBS News as she laughed, “He still had blisters on his hands.”
So far, he’s made 115 bats and was able to donate $2,500. His mom likes the idea of him making bats as it keeps his hands busy, “I almost feel like this is a school in itself, you know?” his mom told CBS News. When the publication asked him about how it felt to help his community, Tommy said, “I feel like it’s really helping people.”