At best, organizers for Monday’s Ortega Family fundraiser featuring the baseball teams from Northview, Covina, South Hills and Charter Oak hoped to raise two, maybe three thousand. All four teams chipped in with $150 each to start, but over the weekend, Texas Rangers shortstop and all-star Michael Young dipped into his pockets and donated $10,000. You remember Young, who grew up in Covina, attended Bishop Amat and the longtime member of the Rangers. Then at the end of the night Monday, after fifty-fifties, auction’s, snack bar sales, and a much larger crowd than expected, $8,000 more was raised, bringing the grand total to a little more than $18,000.
Above: South Hills players greet Joseph Ortega between games along with Covina Mayor Kevin Stapleton. Ortega, 20, threw out the first pitch in both games. “I’d like to thank everyone who came out here today to support our family. It means a lot. You can’t ask for anything more than what the community has done. It helps, it really does.”
Above: Michael Young’s Godfather Pete Chavez presented the $10,000 check to Joseph Ortega on his behalf.
Northview coach Darren Murphy on Young’s donation:
“It’s incredible what he did. Most people think because you have a lot of money that it’s not such a big deal, but it’s still amazing for him to do it. He didn’t have to do it. He’s (Young) still in Texas, this was all communicated through the telephone and the news. He reached back and wanted to give back to his community. I would hope that he’s (Young) the guy that our young kids in the area would look up to now. He’s everything that I would want my players to be like. His donation just tells you what kind of person he is.”
Covina Mayor Kevin Stapleton: “The unity this shows, the dedication and the love this community has for each other is heart-warming, it’s wonderful to see. To have all these people here on a day off, on a three-day weekend give their money and their time to raise money for the victims of this horrible crime is beyond words. I’m at a loss for words actually, which is kind of rare for a politician, but that’s how moved I am by this event.”
South Hills coach Kevin Smith seemed moved by the large gathering as well, and told a story about a Northern California couple he met pulling into the parking lot. “I get tired of people saying the American people are selfish and only care about themselves. It’s a three-day weekend, there’s barbeques everywhere, the weather is awesome, and there’s this huge turnout for high school baseball games in January. When we pulled in we met this couple from Northern California who didn’t know anybody, but heard about this game in the news and wrote a check for a $100 bucks. They just said ‘Here, this is a great thing you’re doing.’ Absolutely incredible, it really is. It takes your breath away that in a couple of weeks we could raise this kind of money for a family in need.”