SANTA ROSA (KRON) — After donating thousands to victims of the North Bay Firestorm, the Oakland Athletics are taking their recovery efforts one step further.
Oakland’s favorite elephant traveled to Santa Rosa to help bring joy to evacuees.
On Tuesday afternoon, Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell joined Stomper, the A’s mascot, hoping to bring a moment of lightness to those who have spent the last week at the evacuation center in Santa Rosa.
Maxwell left his home in Arizona when he realized the scope of the devastation.
“In the middle of last week after seeing all the devastation on the internet and this is our community,” Maxwell said. “Playing for the A’s, I know there wasn’t a lot we could do but at the same time, I wanted to be a part of it.”
Yet even an autograph or a picture with a professional athlete can go a long way for a family that has nowhere to go.
“We have to try to liven their spirits up now and this is a good way to do it,” Maxwell said.
Even firefighters appreciated the visit of two figures of a professional baseball team.
“Even if you just get that picture or that signature that morale boost is huge,” Cal Fire firefighter Jody Geare said. “The athletes, anyone who can bring moral support to rise things up, that’s huge.”
Nowhere was that moral support more appreciated than at Sports City where the owners opened up their space for kids to escape the tragedy while their schools were closed.
“It’s hard to shine a positive light on what’s going on. As Stomper and I make our rounds around Northern California, we love to see you out here playing. We love to see you smiling, still being positive as much as you can,” Maxwell said.
The A’s brought what they could quickly put together to contribute to a child’s wellbeing.
They knew backpacks would be welcome.
Maxwell plans on returning throughout the week in the hopes of making a larger contribution as Santa Rosa begins the long recovery.
“I’ll be here a week we’re going to try and help people with food banks and make some supply runs and just the little things we can do,” Maxwell said. “We can’t make the houses reappear but we can lift spirits a little bit.”
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