Giving dominates Little League closing ceremony

By J.T. Lain

June 15, 2013 - 5:24 pm
Maricopa Little League coach Kevin McDill presents Joseph Reyes with a check for $500 so he can go to Washington, D.C. J.T. Lain photo

Joseph Reyes had a plan to work as a junior umpire in Maricopa Little League to pay his way to Washington, D.C. for a class trip next spring break. He was going to earn his way to the nation’s capital.

It was a plan that would teach him responsibility at a young age and one that would teach him the value of a dollar. But that all changed one day when he was riding his bike.

Joseph, 13, was riding near Legacy Traditional School when he saw his friend nearby. He waved hello, looked both ways, and then started to ride across the street.

“Everyone said they didn’t see the car coming, it was out of nowhere,” Joseph said.

The driver didn’t see anyone either. The driver was texting.

Joseph was hit hard and knocked unconscious. The bones in his right leg shattered and he suffered damage to his liver and other internal organs.

When Maricopa Little League members heard of Joseph’s plight, they made plans to help out. Through fundraising the league raised $500, enough to send Joseph on his trip, and even bought him a new bike.

Joseph was surprised with his check and bike Saturday during the League’s closing ceremonies at Pacana Park.

His mother Veronica Reyes said she was amazed at how the community had come together to help her son.

“I was just talking with my husband about how the world seemed to be getting worse and then this was just an eye opener with how there is good in people,” she said.

Joseph said he is looking forward to riding his new bike once his physical therapy is done. “This is really cool. I didn’t expect this at all.”

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu and County Attorney Lando Voyles were on hand Saturday to help celebrate the successful season. Babeu donated $5,000 from Racketeer Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) funds, and Voyles, a Maricopa resident, gave $5,001 in RICO monies.

According to the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, RICO funds are generated by law enforcement activities that result in asset forfeiture proceedings. Once forfeited, proceeds are deposited into the County RICO funds and are expended in accordance with state and federal laws and guidelines.

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