Miracle League Field comes to life in Payette
PAYETTE, Idaho (KBOI) - The Harmon Killebrew Miracle League Field of Payette finally came to life Thursday afternoon.
This field is the first of its kind in Idaho, and gives children with special needs a chance to play baseball. For families, it's proof that miracles can happen in everyday life.
The story of the Miracle League Field begins and ends with baseball hall-of-famer Harmon Killebrew. A Payette native, Killebrew wanted to see one of these fields built in his hometown. His widow, Nita Killebrew, called it his dying wish.
That wish swelled into a vision, and a fundraising project was soon put into motion. The Miracle League of Payette broke ground on the field in May 2014. Now, less than one year later, the field was formally dedicated.
"This little community of Payette gathered around and made donations," Nita said. "They have the heart for a Miracle League Field. Usually it takes two to three years, along with big functions to fund these fields."
This field came to life in exactly 11 months.
"I remember coming out here a year ago and the field was just dirt," Nita said. "There was nothing here."
Getting the funding for the Miracle League Field wasn't easy. The specialized surface, which is safe for children using wheelchairs and crutches, cost $100,000 to install.
Thursday's game wasn't about the plans for the field or the fundraising efforts. Instead, it was about a simple game of baseball, and the 19 kids playing. For the players, it's a game of running bases.
"When I was running the bases, my glasses were jiggling up and down because of the helmet," said Giovanni Khongsaengdao.
"Go blue team," said Emilie Nyce.
Families tell KBOI 2News that the game is an experience that's impossible to forget.
"You just get chills and you want to cry," Emile's mother told KBOI 2News. "It's so exciting to see this in your child. To be able to go and watch her, I mean, it just touches our heart."
Harmon Killebrew couldn't be at Thursday's game, but Nita said he was watching from above, no doubt proud of what his legacy has inspired.
"I think he'd tear up too," she said. "He'd tell you how grateful he was, how awesome it is and how he's always known Payette was a place for (a Miracle League Field. This is just a great tribute to him."