After Devastating Storm, Boy Makes 115 Baseball Bats Hewn From Fallen Limb to Raise Money for Iowa Victims

When a huge derecho hit Iowa in August with winds that reached 140 mph, a 12-year-old boy found a unique way to help the storm’s victims—hitting a home run for kindness.

“We didn’t have, like, any damage [to our home],” Tommy Rhomberg told 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 wanted to give his friend a special birthday gift after the storm upended his birthday, too. Why not a homemade baseball bat? That was his pal’s favorite sport, after all.

Tommy gave his handmade bat a neat name: “The Great Derecho.” Soon others were asking for Tommy’s bats, too.

This gave the enterprising tween a novel idea. What if he repurposed tree branches that had been taken down in the storm—and turned them into bats for sale? Tommy knew just what to do with some of the money raised through his efforts: It could go towards helping storm victims rebuild.

Carving bats in his free time, Tommy’s made 1,500 bats and donated over $2,500. “I feel like it’s really helping people,” he says. Of that, we have no doubt.