It must have been a jaw-dropping, disheartening sight for those first to arrive at the Westside Park Miracle Field to see the oversized decorative baseball had been damaged and knocked off its pedestal a couple of weekends ago.
The Miracle Field, which opened in 2012 in the Whitfield County Recreation Department park in Rocky Face, is a specially-constructed turf diamond and outfield for special-needs baseball players. It is the home of the Miracle League, which has games and events there throughout the year.
The iconic ball, which is an enduring symbol for the Miracle League, had been dented and scuffed up by a vandal or vandals, who we hope surveillance camera footage will identify.
The perpetrators may have gotten some short-lived satisfaction from their destruction, but what has happened after the crime is what will be remembered and appreciated long after the perps are forgotten.
A community that stepped up to make things right.
Several businesses and community members have come forward to not only repair the monument but improve its surroundings as well.
A crew from the Whitfield County Public Works Department rounded out the dent in the ball, which then was to be handed to Ken’s CarStar Body Works, which will get it "smooth and properly rounded. We’ll prime it and get the color right and then put a clear coat on it to protect it from the elements and ultraviolet rays,” Jamie White of Ken’s CarStar told this newspaper recently.
Home Depot of Dalton will do its part and erect a low wall around the pedestal similar to a landscaping tree ring but this one will be filled with rocks.
The statuary, which originally stood on the grounds of Turner Field, the former home of the Atlanta Braves, has been a popular spot for picture-taking for Miracle League participants. The new pedestal will continue that tradition while giving the ball a more protective barrier.
Ken's CarStar and Home Depot have been longtime supporters of the Miracle Field, and they are joined by many in the community who support the field because they have been touched by the joy it brings participants.
The quick response and the outpouring of concern that have come out of an act of vandalism are a fine testimony to a community that shows it really cares when something bad happens to something good.
The repaired and improved baseball statue will long stand as proof of these commendable acts.