Chicago, IL, United States (4E Sports) – Former slugger Jim Thome, who currently works as special assistant to Chicago White Sox general manager Rick Hahn, has pledged $100,000 to a city that was devastated by tornadoes last month.
Thome recently visited the city of Washington, Illinois, where one of his brothers resides, and is located just 15 miles from the Thomes’ hometown of Peoria.
The former slugger toured the area with Mayor Gary Manier and former NBA player Doug Lee and personally witnessed the devastation that the tornados brought, damaging 1,086 homes, with 532 completely destroyed.
“I’ve never seen damage of a tornado,” Thome said. “I’ve never been in one but it put everything in perspective after. Obviously having it hit so close to home, then realizing what are these families going to do, 10 days or seven days away from Thanksgiving?”
“There were cars in trees. There was just debris everywhere. It looked like the whole half of the town of Washington was leveled,” he added.
According to Jim’s wife Andrea, even before her husband’s visit, he already wanted the Thome family to contribute.
“I could see it in his face,” Andrea said. “We knew what we gave had to be substantial enough to help more than a few.”
Aside from the $100,000 personal contribution, Thome also raised additional funds from his former teams, including the White Sox, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians and the Philadelphia Phillies.
Chicago’s other professional teams — the Blackhawks, Cubs and Bulls – also pooled in their resources to help Thome’s efforts.
Thome expressed gratitude for the teams with their help, adding that the allocation of the money is being currently discussed.
“All those teams stepped up, and then we’ll divide the money of where it needs to go in the right way,” Thome said.