Joey Lee, the program director at Bainbridge Leisure Services, told members of the Bainbridge City Council that the recreation staff’s focus is on improving children’s lives.
During during a departmental presentation at the City Council’s Oct. 21 meeting, Lee talked about how Leisure Services employees ,volunteers and participants teamed up to show a little boy how much they cared about him.
Gunner Mock, 8, the son of Spencer and Velvet Mock of Bainbridge, had a serious brain condition that required him to undergo surgery at Children’s Healthcare in Atlanta, Ga., on April 8, 2014.
Despite his condition, Mock had signed up to play baseball this spring, just as he had in past years. When Lee in late March learned that Gunner would be playing his last game before the surgery, the Leisure Services program director decided to organize a special recognition for the brave boy. Joanie Williams, who was then an assistant program director with Leisure Services, also helped. As they wrote on the BLS Facebook page:
“Gunner’s team, The Titans, wanted to wish himthe best of luck, the fastest recovery and oddles of prayers. He was surprised with a decorated dug out, helium balloons and a banner signed by hundreds of well wishers! Keep Gunner and his family in your prayers as they prepare for Tuesday. We Love You Gunner and will see you back on the fields soon!!!”
Leisure Services employees not only decorated the dugout, they made a special banner with Gunner’s number, #11, and a picture of a baseball, with a message that read, “BLS and the Titans love you!” Joey and Joanie spread the word for all of the program’s baseball and softball players to sign the banner. When Gunner’s parents brought him and his older brother, Spencer Jr., to the Bill Reynolds Sports Park, Gunner was surprised with the decorated dugout. Lee said the project to let Gunner know he was in everyone’s thoughts “really united” everyone involved with the Bainbridge baseball/softball program.
Young Gunner’s recovery from surgery went so well that he was actually able to return for the last game of the regular season.
“That’s numbers that you can’t see … we can show wins and losses, we can make teams that win and go to state and represent our city well,” Lee told the Council. “With stuff like this, we’re really changing things, and that’s the stuff we’re going to remember.”
See Joey Lee’s emotional description of what Leisure Services did to lift Gunner’s spirits, and scroll below to see a photo gallery of Gunner’s special day: