To play professional baseball in four separate decades, along with talent, one must have dedication and an opportunity. Those two words–dedication and opportunity–seem to be at the cornerstone of Colorado Rockies 49-year-old-pitcher Jamie Moyer’s success.
After taking the mound on April 7 for the first time in the 2012 season, when Moyer pitches his first win for the Rockies, he will become the oldest pitcher in MLB history to pitch a winning game. While Moyer’s 26 year career has seen numerous accolades, including winning a World Series, Moyer’s career is set apart from that of others not only because of his durability, but because of his impressive record of giving back to his community.
In 2000, Jamie and his wife, Karen–an impressive woman in her own right who holds degrees from Notre Dame and St. John’s University–founded the Moyer Foundation. The foundation’s mission is “. . . to empower children in distress by providing education and support – helping them to live healthy and inspired lives.”
Using the cornerstones that Jamie has built his impressive baseball career upon–dedication and opportunity–over the past 12 years, the Moyer Foundation has raised over $20 million. That money has been used to fund grants for over 225 programs serving children. Additionally, it has been used to fund two unique children’s camps: Camp Erin and Camp Mariposa.
Camp Erin was launched in 2002 in Everett, Washington. The camp was started after the Moyer’s met a 15-year-old Cancer patient, Erin Metcalf, who was concerned about the well-being of children who have to endure hospital visits with family members. After Erin passed away, the Moyer’s wished to honor her memory. In doing so, the Moyer’s ultimately created the largest network of children’s bereavement camps in the United States. Since the first time Camp Erin was held in Everett, Washington, its reach has greatly expanded. Since the camp’s founding in 2002 through 2010, 5,907 children–including those who lost parents in 9/11 or in fighting wars overseas–attended 103 Camp Erin’s in cities across the country. In 2013, a Camp Erin will be held in every city in which there is a MLB team.
In 2007, the Moyer Foundation launched Camp Mariposa, the first and only camp in the United States dedicated to serving some of the 8.3 million children in the United States who live with a family member battling addiction or co-dependency. The camp not only gives these children an opportunity to enjoy some childhood fun away from home, but also teaches them coping mechanisms and works to help them beat the cycle of addiction. While the camp was only held in Seattle in 2007, since then, it has expanded to serve children in other locales. In 2012, Camp Mariposa’s will be held Indiana, Florida and Washington.
Given Jamie’s busy MLB schedule, when asked how he is able to assist the foundation during the season, the Moyer Foundation National Executive Director Kevin Sullivan said, “He tries to make himself as available as possible–and that can be by such things as taping a TV interview or a radio interview. If possible, he attends the camps. He likes to be with the children. He has such a great impact when he is there. Karen goes to many of the camps as well. They’re very engaged in the fundraising of the organization, as well as setting the strategic direction.”
Recently, Jamie signed a contract to play with the Colorado Rockies, after sitting out the 2011 season with an injury. The two cities in which he most recently played–Seattle and Philadelphia–both largely felt the positive effects of the Moyer Foundation. When asked whether the Moyer’s would continue this legacy in Colorado, Sullivan said, “Knowing the Moyer’s, I’m sure they will. We do a Camp Erin in the Denver-area.”
Jamie and Karen, welcome to Colorado. I think I speak for every Rockies fan, when I say we are grateful for the opportunity to welcome two dedicated community servants.