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June 15, 2011
Just like many of us, he was glued to the television on May 22, 2011 when the tornado devastated Joplin, Missouri. Stefanie Maucher, John’s mother states, “John is always looking for a way to help when something happens that affects other people. He was looking for a way to help the Joplin community and we encouraged him to pray and God would find a way for him to help.” That way came to John in June.
House Springs Post 783 was making a trip to Springfield, Missouri, for a tournament. When the tournament bracket was released, the team was to play Joplin on Saturday, June 4th. Steve Denbo, Head Coach for Post 783, made an announcement that each family would donate a case of water and toilet paper to give to the Joplin team. John immediately thought of another avenue to assist the team. John, as in the past, reached out to the Foundation for some assistance.
In response, the Foundation donated an autographed print from the 2010 Christmas event for John to present to the Kickapoo high school coach (tournament coordinator). After much consideration, it was decided to sell $2 raffle tickets at the Kickapoo tournament and the Ozark tournament that weekend. John assisted his mother Stefanie with all of the specifics and the details from making signs to suggesting a presentation and talk to the Joplin team.
Just prior to playing Joplin on Saturday morning, John and his family (Roger Maucher, Stefanie Maucher, Erika Maucher, Carli Maucher, and Dusty Ehler) and his coach (Steve Denbo) walked on to the field and over to the Joplin team as they were warming up. Stefanie remembers the moment as this, “As I walked up to the Joplin coach (Jim Hogelin) and introduced myself and the ‘crew’ we had with us and explained what we were doing, the Joplin coach began to cry. He reached out to give me a hug. I could feel the sincerity and appreciation in his hug. We heard the team was affected, but we had no idea what we were about to find out.”
Just informing the coach of Post 783’s desire to donate all proceeds of the raffle to their team wasn’t enough for John. He wanted to speak to the team as well. John was a bit overcome with emotion so Stefanie stepped in and as the Joplin boys took a knee, she expressed their team’s, family’s and Foundation’s concern for their community. Caught up in emotion herself as she looked at a bunch of young men who were faced with enough tragedy for a lifetime, she simply ended by saying, “We are praying for your families, community and sincerely hope each and every one of you remain safe in your travels and on the field. God bless each of you.”
The Joplin team went on to beat Post 783 in that game, but all the boys on the field learned a valuable lesson that day. Baseball is more than a game, it’s more than two teams competing, it’s about brotherhood and supporting each other through the good times and the bad times. John said, “Even though we went 2-4 in the tournament, I feel good about what we did as a team and the sportsmanship we displayed on and off the field.”
On the way out of the tournament, Dr. Meredith, who worked at the hospital which was so badly hit, brought John’s giving full circle. He drew a complete picture of how the Joplin team was affected. Most teams showed up to the tournament with two sets of uniforms. Joplin only had one. Dr. Meredith explained this was because their other uniforms were destroyed when the uniform shop was hit by the tornado, their home fields at the high school were destroyed, and some families were going to have difficulty paying fees because of their losses. John smiled and told his mom, “I guess the money will come in handy for them.”
The Kickapoo and Ozark tournaments brought in an amazing $742.00 to present to the Joplin team from the raffle for Albert’s autograph. Carli and Erika Maucher drew the winner of the print on Sunday morning. Of all the entries, Post 783’s own Brian Copeland won the autographed print. On behalf of the Maucher family, and Post 783, thank you to the Pujols Family Foundation for making a difference in a situation where a bunch of boys needed to just be able to play baseball and have a bit of normalcy back in their lives. Stefanie says, “This Foundation is about giving, as Deidre says, it’s about blessing people. Thanks to the donation, we blessed many people over the weekend. We blessed not only those who received the donations but those who gave as well. This is what life should be about.”