Cole and Heidi Hamels always imagined that they would return to Heidi’s native southwest Missouri. During his ten-year stint as a starting pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies, that was the plan. They bought a house in the area, and a huge one, with lots of land. They planned to make it their family home.
But then a funny thing happened — Hamels’ career as a professional pitcher just kept going, and in 2015, Hamels was traded to the Texas Rangers. Their three school-aged kids got comfortable there, and the Hamels no longer felt the pull back to Heidi’s home state.
So, the Hamels family did what any family in the same situation would do: they found a charity that provides camps and recreational activities for children with special needs, and they gave them the 32,000-square-foot, $9.5 million-dollar home and the accompanying one-hundred acres of lakefront property.
Yep. They gave Camp Barnabas the entire property. Lock, stock and barrel. No strings attached. Apparently, the Hamels family loved the mission of Camp Barnabas and felt that it was the local charity that could best make use of what would have been their home.
Since 1994, Camp Barnabas has provided amazing summer camp experiences for kids with developmental disabilities and terminal illnesses and their siblings. The charity currently runs two camps in the southwest Missouri area, not counting the Hamels property, for which Camp Barnabas doesn’t yet have a plan.
Cole Hamels, in a prepared statement for the press had this to say about the massive donation: “This home started out as our dream, and now we get to share that dream with an incredible organization.”
We thought Cole had a good changeup, but it turns out the whole Hamels family knows a thing or two about creating change.
We can’t wait to see him at Wrigley Field this summer as a freshly minted Cub.