There are dozens of tragic stories and examples of uplifting support coming out of the North Bay wildfires every day, and the fires haven’t even been contained yet. Homes have been lost, pets, livelihoods, and most importantly dozens of loved ones who couldn’t escape the ongoing blazes.
But amid all of the large-scale tragedy, there are some stories that hit you right in the heart because of their specificity, because how easily you can feel what the person is going through because it’s a universal tale of loss — but one that’s easy to process.
That’s what the story of Loren Jade Smith is, something that’s universal and sad but also far easier to focus on than some of the more awful stories coming out of Northern California right now.
Loren, 9, whose house burned down in the fires, wrote a letter to his favorite team, the Oakland A’s, detailing the memorabilia collection that he was so proud of that was lost in the fire.
He lays out what he lost, including years worth of baseball cards and a ball from a game, and explains all of the different ways he enjoys baseball — from backyard World Series games or teaching his infant brother how to throw.
The entire letter is below, in case his handwriting is tough to read.
To the Oakland A’s:
I love watching your A’s games. I want to be an A’s player and I play at Mark West Little League in Santa Rosa. I played baseball in my backyard all day loving the A’s and making up my own game. In my backyard they won six World Series in a row. But my house burned down in the Santa Rosa fire and my saddest things was my baseball collection cards, my 17 jerseys and 10 hats and my baseball from the game and also a ball signed by the whole team and Rickey Henderson and Bob Melvin. My brother and me have so much fun but he is only 9 months old. I am teaching him how to throw balls. I have every single A’s card from 2000 to now but I am 9-years-old. I had a major league baseball and it all burned up. So sad. I know you are not all together but hope they get this.
Now, without an uplifting twist in this story, it would just be really sad. But lucky for everybody that twist happened, as players and teams from all around the league are rallying to Loren’s cause and sending him some memorabilia. A’s President Dave Kaval and the entire organization posted their support, and their minor league teams sent things too.
If you'd like to donate baseball memorabilia to our pal Loren, please send items to the address below and we’ll make sure they get to him. pic.twitter.com/xI3ZwWWfNA— A's, But Spooky (@Athletics) October 16, 2017
Some love from Stockton is on the way, Loren! pic.twitter.com/nSkp4GxsdA— Stockton Ports (@stocktonports) October 16, 2017
Where can I send something?— dan haren (@ithrow88) October 15, 2017
How can we send something?— ScarinDolanBoolittle (@EireannDolan) October 16, 2017
can you send us info on how we can help— Topps Company (@Topps) October 15, 2017
Our friend Loren lost all of his A's memorabilia in the recent North Bay Fires. https://t.co/qa8LFjvjFf— A's, But Spooky (@Athletics) October 16, 2017
Baseball is family. We have your back, Loren. The package is on its way! pic.twitter.com/vALO3tiBlM— Detroit Tigers (@tigers) October 16, 2017
Hopefully there's room on the truck for this stuff for Loren! Give him and his family our best. pic.twitter.com/wmdtOOh02t— AL Central champs! (@Indians) October 17, 2017
Count us in! Headed your way, Loren. pic.twitter.com/AuArehIzd5— Miami Marlins (@Marlins) October 17, 2017
We’d love to help out the baseball family. There’s some White Sox swag on its way to you, Loren! pic.twitter.com/pRYoVF6yjZ— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) October 17, 2017
Just dropped all of this in the mail for you, Loren! pic.twitter.com/fKmcZf6voC— Red Sox (@RedSox) October 16, 2017
You can let Loren know he’s got a package coming from the Astros!— Houston Astros (@astros) October 16, 2017
We’ve got a Padres pack on its way for Loren—including an autographed Mark McGwire baseball pic.twitter.com/IWXQ8VDUUb— San Diego Padres (@Padres) October 16, 2017
The Mets sent things as well, but in true Mets fashion made a typo in the tweet.
Happy to pitch in...We're sending something you're way, Loren!— New York Mets (@Mets) October 16, 2017
This new collection can’t replace his old one, or his family’s home. But for an elementary school kid with a memorabilia collection that impressive, the response from his favorite team and others is probably a big deal.
He hasn’t lost his baseball-loving spirit in the fire though, as you can see from this impressive home run call.
If you want to contribute to Loren’s new collection, you can send it to the address the A’s provided in the tweet embedded above. If you can’t send anything, we’re sure well wishes will be just as helpful both to Loren’s family and all affected by the continuing fires.