Vance Albitz was reading an article about what U.S. military troops in Afghanistan needed.
"Because people want to help out and people want to send stuff," Albitz said. "But what? That guy specifically said he wanted a baseball glove. When I read that I said, 'Oh. I've got a few.' So, I had this idea to gather them together and send them out."
Then it occurred to Albitz that troops stationed all over the world would probably love to receive a glove. So he started a website Gloves4Troops.com and donations poured in from all over the country.
"With the internet, it took off," Albitz said. "To this day, in all 50 states, there has been some sort of contribution from everybody."
Kids would not only send gloves, but also write letters expressing their gratitude. The response from the troops was overwhelming.
"They were really thankful," Albitz said. "I've gotten a lot of thank you cards through e-mail and hand written. A lot of times they feel like they've been forgotten about, so just to receive something I think, in terms of a letter or the gloves, it's just letting them know we're thinking about them and are thankful."
Albitz spends much of the off-season sending gloves and baseballs to the troops. But during the season, he gets help from his parents in Southern California.
"I'm lucky to have a set of parents that are very active with it," he said. "While I'm in season, they pack them up and send them out. So, it's ongoing throughout the year. It really has become a family activity."
So far, Vance and his family have sent almost 3,000 gloves. While he's happy to do it, he says one day he hopes he won't have to.
"There's one side that I want to send it, but there's another side that I hope these guys come back home too," Albitz said. "For me personally, I like doing it because of the feedback I get from the soldiers, and there just a lot of positive things that come from it. So, I'd like to do it forever."
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