Comets Care held their 2nd annual Comets Express Dinner Fundraiser back in November. The girls raised $1,500 for this year’s recipient, Misericordia Heart of Mercy. On Sunday February 22nd some of the girls went down to tour the home and meet with several volunteers including Sister Rosemary who is the founder of Misericordia Heart of Mercy Home. It was sibling day at the home and the girls presented the check to Sister Rosemary in front of several hundred family members whose children reside at Misericordia.
“It was very rewarding to see where the donation was going and who we are helping,” said the girls. “It definitely makes you feel like you are making a difference.”
Amy Walsh and Maddie Helm were awarded scholarships from Illinois PGA Director Michael Miller for their outstanding academic achievement and community service while playing for the Comets. The IPGA has been a big supporter of the Comets over the years. At the end of the season party in August the girls were each awarded a $500 college scholarship. Mr. Miller said that he was proud of the girls for starting Comets Care and joining forces with the IPGA Foundation in their support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities. It has been the sponsorships from people like Mr. Miller that made the Comets a special place to play.
At the year-end party for the 16U Crystal Lake Comets, board member Elaine Ruddy surprised Maddie Helm, Amy Walsh, Sarah Rohloff and Katelynn Russ by honoring them with the CLGFS Merit Award. The Merit Award is presented each year to a player or players who best represents the CLGFS through:
Along with Academic Excellence, Community Service and Athletic Achievement
Each of the award winners have been in the CLGFS for over 8 years. They started by playing in the rec league at an early age and remained with the league through the 16U Comets.
Each Player has excelled in the classroom by maintaining at least a 3.75 GPA. Each girl has been recognized by District 155 Superintendent Dr. Thomas through the Comets All-Academic Team
In 2013 these players along with other teammates started the "Comets Care Charity." In just over a year they have raised over $10,000 and participated in over 20 events in the community.
The night did not end without one more surprise as the CLGFS Board retired the numbers of these players (14,17,3,12) for their outstanding effort and commitment to the CLGFS.
Congratulations on an outstanding career!!!
On behalf of the entire staff at APL, I want to commend you for your community service. I will be mailing your Community Service Grant for $250 to apply towards your work with Comets Care. We are happy to partner with you in this effort. Keep up the good work!
Dr. David Brottman
Richmen LLC is stepping up to support Amy Walsh in K’s for a cure. For every strike out Amy records for Crystal Lake Central and the Crystal Lake Comets a donation of $1.00 will be made to Comets Care on her behalf. This past season Amy recorded 165 strikeouts for her high school team while recording an additional 134 strikeouts for the Crystal Lake Comets. Congratulations to Amy and the rest of her teammates! We are proud to make a donation of $299.00 to Comets Care in an effort to help support this great cause.
Sincerely, Vito Loisi
Thank you for your support Richmen and Vito!
It started with getting good grades, but the Crystal Lake Comets 16U team is having an impact on its community far beyond the softball field.
Among the 11 girls on the team, the average GPA is 4.1 in high school. Nine of the girls attend Crystal Lake high schools, three each at Crystal Lake Central, Crystal Lake South and Prairie Ridge.
Comets coach Bill Walsh said grades were the beginning of creating a team that would be celebrated more for its off the field endeavors than its softball wins.
“The girls are exceptional students. When we started this thing four years ago, that was the focus,” Walsh said. “We took a different direction for what we wanted to be recognized for.”
Some of the things the team has recently done include taking part in an annual lupus walk in Chicago, participating in local food drives and ringing the bell to raise money for the Salvation Army.
The team also visited the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago and did crafts and spent time with the children there to give their parents a break. Add in car washes and food drives, and it’s clear the team is kept busy with more than just batting and fielding practice.
On the field, the team has been just as successful. On Sunday, it won the Winfield of Dreams Tournament for its fifth consecutive tournament championship. Walsh said the bigger focus has united the team and had a positive impact on the field.
“That camaraderie really does bring them closer together. They really don’t want to let each other down,” Walsh said. “Camaraderie over talent, I’ll take it every day.”
Walsh said they aren’t trying to start a national organization but just give the team the opportunity to have a hands-on impact. It’s a more fulfilling experience than just writing a check to help, he said.
“It’s personal. It means more,” Walsh said. “We try and make them get involved.”
Personal took a step up when the team bought and wrapped presents for a family in need and delivered them Christmas morning.
“Probably the greatest Christmas I ever had,” Walsh said.
It’s also given the girls experience in setting up a charitable organization and making tough decisions about what to do with the money they raise. They wrote their own mission statement and launched cometscare.org to showcase their organization and help raise money.
Corey Helm, whose daughter Maddie plays on the team and attends Crystal Lake Central, said the team’s focus on giving back has had a huge impact on her daughter.
“It has given her extreme confidence and the will to want to give back,” Helm said. “I just like the person my daughter is starting to become.”
Now the goal is to replicate giving back to future Comets and even other organizations.
“A lot of teams talk about it, but they really don’t enact it,” Walsh said. “I think it’s unique right now. I’d like to think it would become the standard.”
The Crystal Lake Comets girls softball team recently visited the new Ronald McDonald House near Lurie Children’s Hospital to provide care, comfort and a sense of community to the families staying there while their children are receiving medical treatment in the hospital.
The families at the House loved having the girls visit and engage in activities for the kids. Whether it was arts and crafts, artistic face painting or just talking to the children about their softball team, a great evening was had by all. During some of the toughest days of their lives, the families appreciated the visit and the concern and enthusiasm shown by the softball players.
It was tough to tell who was having the better time – the children staying at the House with their big grins and laughter or the Comets who quickly recognized they were really making a difference in the lives of some children who weren’t as fortunate. That evening everybody was a winner and the staff at Ronald McDonald House was very appreciative of the Comets donating their time and talents to help others.
In addition to making the day a bit brighter for a lot of kids, the Comets brought “wish list” items that keep the House running 24/7 365 days a year. The Comets’ generosity and thoughtfulness will be gratefully appreciated long after their evening at the House because of the numerous supplies they brought. Over 22,000 nights will be provided at the Ronald McDonald House in 2013 and the Comets look forward to a return visit to help the families again.