DALLAS — At Winnetka Elementary School in Dallas there was cheering, smiles all around, and the anticipation that something big was about to go down.
And then it happened. The crowd of young students went wild, cheering their lungs out for Ranger pitcher Cole Hamels, who enjoyed soaking it in.
"You get to see what the kids are feeling," he said with a smile.
The big-game left hander with the big heart did more than just visit, though. He brought the Cole Hamels Foundation check book with him, providing grants in excess of 35-thousand dollars.
"They're invested in the community," said Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels, of Hamels and his wife, Heidi. "Their foundation and our foundation really in lockstep; its all about helping kids."
The Hamels Foundation donated $5,500 to Winnetka, which will be used to improve their physical education equipment. Another $5,000 will create a counseling corner at Adelfa Botello Callejo Elementary.
Hamels also donated $25,000 for new educational classrooms at the all-new MLB Youth Academy at Mercy Street, which is in partnership with the Texas Rangers.
"We really hope this will allow a lot of students to reach out and achieve their dreams," Hamels said.
Hamels hasn't been in Dallas long, but he's committed to making an impact here, proving as much on this day. But it's interesting to note The Hamels Foundation also has a global reach.
In the poverty-stricken African country of Malawi, the foundation's building a primary school, with two buildings already up, providing much-needed educational opportunities for some 650 kids.
"It's unfortunate circumstances that they had no hope and we're not providing them an education to learn life skills that we take for granted over here," Hamels said.
It's more great work for The Hamels Foundation, which has already donated more than $3.5 million since 2009.
Hamels makes his living striking guys out, but kids all the way from sub-Saharan Africa to right here in our own backyard will tell you he knows how to hit home runs, too.