Ancilla baseball makes tornado relief trip to southern Indiana
DONALDSON — Dylan Martin had just returned to his apartment from school when he and some of his fellow Ancilla College baseball teammates heard reports of bad storms heading for Indiana.
Martin, who grew up in Borden near Henryville in southern Indiana, called home to check on his family. No one answered, so he called his grandmother, who informed him that they were in the midst of the severe weather. As the reports of the devastation reached him, Martin felt helpless when he learned that several of his friends and neighbors had lost their homes.
“I thought there was nothing I could do from four hours away, and it felt out of my hands,” he said.
Ancilla College Head Baseball Coach Joe Yonto, who led a relief trip to Alabama after tornadoes struck there in 2011, approached Dylan about helping out. Martin called his mother, and “we started to plan and call around town,” he explained.
Their inquiries led them to a farmer who, at 63 years old, had recently undergone triple bypass surgery and was unable to rebuild after a tornado had ripped through the middle of his farm.
“He graduated with my grandpa, so we knew him really well,” Martin recalled. “My mom knew he really needed the help.”
Dylan was among the 12 baseball players who accompanied Yonto during the team’s trip to Henryville. The team stayed at a local fire station and helped the farmer clean up the metal and fallen trees as well as rebuild the fence around his 133 acres. Patrick Knight, who grew up in nearby New Albany, also went on the trip.
“It meant a lot being back near my hometown and getting to help out,” said Knight. “We got a lot done.”
Zac Miller, who grew up on a farm in White Pigeon, Mich., helped direct his fellow athletes in their work.
“I know how much work and trouble it is to build a fence, but it was fun and felt great to help someone,” he said.
Coach Yonto describes the experience as “a great opportunity and a sincere effort from the young men.”
“That’s what Ancilla is all about, helping others out and making a difference in their lives,” he said. “[The farmer] and community were appreciative. It was positive for our young men, as well.”
Ancilla College (www.ancilla.edu) is a Catholic, two-year, co-educational, liberal arts college in Donaldson sponsored by the Poor Handmaids of Jesus Christ.