10/03/2011 4:10 PM ET
Easter Seals, Pirates Charities and Wheeling-Based Partners Break Ground on Miracle League Field of the Ohio Valley
Miracle League Field Will Be First Of Its Kind To Be Constructed In The Wheeling Area
Easter Seals, Pirates Charities, the philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, and other Wheeling-based partners including the J.B. Chambers Foundation, the City of Wheeling, Ogden Newspapers and the Community Foundation for the Ohio Valley, today broke ground on the Miracle League Field of the Ohio Valley in Wheeling, West Virginia.
The field, which is the fourth in the tri-state region in which Pirates Charities has played a vital role in constructing, will allow children with special needs to realize their dream of playing baseball, many of them for the very first time. As important, these children will now have the opportunity to develop relationships with their peers and coaches while playing on their very own field.
Located in the J.B. Chambers Complex, the Miracle League Field will bring a completely new dynamic to not only the Wheeling community, but also the 15 surrounding counties in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania that will also participate in the Miracle League of The Ohio Valley. The Miracle League Field of Ohio Valley will be open to any special needs child who wants to play.
"Today, our community comes together to change the lives of special needs individuals forever. For the first time, Ohio Valley individuals of all ability levels will have the opportunity to participate in accessible sports," said Lorie Untch, CEO of the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center. "We are eternally grateful to our partners and the community for making this dream a reality."
In all, Pirates Charities has donated more than $500,000 in support of five Miracle League Field projects. In May of 2009, Pirates Charities opened up the region's first Miracle League Field in Cranberry Township, Pa.
"As an organization, the Pirates and Pirates Charities could not be more proud to join as partners and play a part in the construction of the Miracle League Field of the Ohio Valley. The Miracle League Program is a special program and one that is near to our hearts," said Pirates Chairman Bob Nutting. "We are honored and humbled to see the positive impact that these fields have made and will make on so many youths throughout the region. While today is an exciting day, nothing will be more rewarding for me personally than to see the smiles on the faces of these children as their proud parents and loved ones look on when the umpire yells 'play ball.'"
The Miracle League allows for each player to bat once each inning and that all batters are "safe" and score a run before the inning is over. Games are two innings long and each team and each player always wins. Integral to the Miracle League concept is the "Buddy System." Buddies assist all Miracle League players, and are volunteers from youth baseball organizations, local civic and community groups, and individuals with an interest in helping children with special needs.
About Pirates Charities
Pirates Charities, the philanthropic arm of the Pittsburgh Pirates, is a 501(c)3 organization that focuses on three core areas of youth health, fitness and education. Since its inception in late 2006, Pirates Charities has contributed more than $2.4 million to worthwhile projects and programs in the greater Pittsburgh, Bradenton, FL and Estorga, Dominican Republic communities.
To learn more about the Pirates' positive impact in the community, visit www.pirates.com/community
About The Miracle League of the Ohio Valley
The Miracle League of the Ohio Valley is sponsored by the Easter Seals. Currently, more than 50 players participate in the program. In addition to these players, more than 200 local residents are actively participating as "buddies" for the program. For more information about the Miracle League of the Ohio Valley, please contact the Easter Seals at (304) 242-1390.