SURREY — Gord Mooney had to dig into his own pockets to pay extra freight when he flew to Nicaragua in August – but he didn’t mind one bit.
The retired RCMP officer from Fleetwood was off on another mission to the country and this time, he was bringing along a “mindboggling” amount of baseball equipment donated from the families and players of the Whalley Chiefs.
“This is our passion, we love doing it and we love the people of Nicaragua,” he said.
Every year, Mooney goes to Nicaragua – the second most impoverished country in the Americas – with Forward Edge International, a Christian mission organization based out of Vancouver, Wash.
This year’s trip was Mooney’s fifth.
In past trips, he and his team have brought soccer balls and soccer equipment (among other things) but this year, the focus turned to baseball.
“Everything I was hearing was that baseball was the No. 1 sport down there,” he said. “So I found the Whalley Chiefs website and I sent an email.”
Not expecting a response, Mooney found a message in his inbox the very next day. It was from Paul Hargreaves, GM of the Chiefs.
The Chiefs were on board and a few short weeks later, they had gathered up enough equipment to fill Mooney’s SUV to the brim.
“It was mindboggling,” Mooney said. “I told him, ‘Man, you don’t know what this is going to do down there.’”
Hargreaves said it was an easy decision to support Mooney’s mission. After he challenged players and parents to “clean out their closets” for the cause, he was shocked by how much they donated – helmets, cleats, gloves, hats, four complete sets of catcher’s gear and bats. Lots of bats.
“It was unbelievable,” Hargreaves said. “They came through with flying colours.
“Of course it makes you feel great but on the other hand, I think to myself, ‘Wow, we have too much on our end.’”
For more information, visit forwardedge.org.