Tuesday, February 14, 2006

This Made My Day!

It's always heartening to see a kid do something for his school. It tugs at my heart strings when I hear of a student making a financial sacrifice for the sake of his or her school.

But it puts a smile on my face when I hear of someone giving the kid an unexpected reward:
A 12-year-old Arkansas boy's decision to sacrifice a chance to see his favorite baseball team and donate his $1,000 savings instead to help keep his school open has earned him a trip to New York.

The act of selflessness caught the attention of the Yankees owner George Steinbrenner who wrote to Jonathan Farrar and offered him a personal tour of Yankee Stadium and time on the field during batting practice.

His charity also paid off for Pleasant Plains schools. On Monday, Arkansas' Board of Education voted against merging the Midland School District into surrounding districts after townspeople raised $400,000 to cover a projected budget shortfall.

"Jonathan, I couldn't be more proud of you," wrote Steinbrenner, who also replaced the boy's $1,000. "I agree with you when you said, 'The New York Yankees are important to me, but my school is more important.' You're absolutely right and it takes quite a man to give up his personal dream for a higher purpose."

Jonathan said that the Steinbrenner letter was exciting, but not nearly as thrilling as hearing his school district would remain intact.

"I love the Yankees. The Yankees are my main love in life," said Jonathan, who hopes to become a professional baseball player. "Yankee Stadium sounds great, but going to another school district didn't sound good to me at all."

The boy's mother, who had helped organize the fundraising efforts, said her son had approached her about the donation.

"I told him he really needed to think about this and pray about it," Lea Ramsey said. "He told me that he just thought this was the right thing to do."

Steinbrenner said through a spokesman that he looked forward to meeting Jonathan.

"We're going to honor him and welcome him," said Yankees spokesman Howard J. Rubenstein. "We're going to give him a New York Yankees welcome."
No matter who wins the ball game, Jonathan Farrar and George Steinbrenner have already hit home runs.

It is for these reasons that we humbly offer both Jonathan Farrar and George Steinbrenner our Red Apple Salute.
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