Iowa Boy Selling Baseball Bats Crafted from Downed Trees to Help Storm Victims

by Will Shepard

After a thunderstorm ravages Iowa in late August, a 12-year old is turning the tragedy into humanitarian work. The young boy, Tommy Rhomberg, is making baseball bats out of fallen branches from the storm.

The storm called “derecho” is hailed as the most costly storm Iowa has ever had. While the storm damages total around 7.5 billion dollars, there is no shortage of humanitarian work to be done. In particular, Rhomberg is doing his part.

Rhomberg is making bats, presumably, out of the fallen Ash branches. Rhomberg is selling each bat for $100. Additionally, he is donating $20 from each bat he makes to the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund. So far, he has donated over $4,000 to the shelter to support the victims of the storm.

Rhomberg’s mom posted his diligence to raise awareness for the cause to Facebook.

To follow along with Tommy making more Derecho bats: *UPDATE: Whoa! THANK YOU…

Posted by Amanda Rhomberg on Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Rhomberg uses a drawknife, sandpaper, and a couple of other tools – some with power, others without – to handcraft each bat. Each bat is 30 inches long and emblazoned with a “The Great Derecho” symbol on it.

Making Baseball Bats for a Cause

Tommy Rhomberg and his grandfather are making these bats any time they can to help the victims of the storm. He and his family even created a website to help sell the bats. Rhomberg says that he just wants to help out his community.

“I just wanted to make a nice gift for my friend. I didn’t know people would be so interested. But, since so many people in our area need help after the storm, let’s work together to make a difference for them.”

His mother is all for Tommy working on his bats, and indeed, is proud of the work that is getting done. In her post on Facebook, she says that in the worst of times, the best of people comes to light.

“When life hands you a Derecho, you pick the best-fallen branch from your yard and you spend 10+ hours whittling a baseball bat, completely by hand.”

Rhomberg is certainly making his family proud and also, more importantly, helping out his community. Tommy reportedly now has a waitlist of more than 600 people looking to purchase the bats.

Rhomberg jokes that his parents won’t let him drop out of school to pursue a career in baseball bats: “I am 12 years old, and my parents won’t let me drop out of the 6th grade.”