Twelve-year-old Tommy Rhomberg started making bats when he decided to give one to his friend as a birthday gift. He made the bat out of a tree branch that had come down in the derecho storm that hit Iowa in mid-August. It took him 10 hours to whittle and sand, and he ended up with blisters all over his hands. When word spread about Tommy’s Derecho Bats and he started getting more requests, including from his own mom, he streamlined his process and accepted help from his grandfather. They made the commitment that $20 from each purchase would be donated to the Greater Cedar Rapids Foundation Disaster Relief Fund to help locals whose houses were damaged by the storm. Tommy has already made 115 bats and raised over $2,500 for the charity. “I feel like it’s really helping people,” he said.

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