Boy creates baseball bat from a storm-damaged tree branch: 'The Great 2020 Derecho'

·3 min read
Tommy Rhomberg created an amazing baseball bat from a large branch he found in his yard after an intense storm. (Photo: Amanda Rhomberg)
Tommy Rhomberg created an amazing baseball bat from a large branch he found in his yard after an intense storm. (Photo: Amanda Rhomberg)

An Iowa boy has awed social media after creating an impressive baseball bat from a fallen branch he found in his yard.

Following the derecho storm last week that caused quite a bit of devastation in the state, Tommy Rhomberg, 12, of Mount Vernon went out with his family to help clean up. It was then that Tommy stumbled upon a large branch and decided to create something unique for his friend, Walker.

“I just wanted to make a nice gift for my friend. I knew he loved baseball and I just saw the perfect branch, so I knew I wanted to make him a bat,” Rhomberg tells Yahoo Life.

Rhomberg, who participates in sports like baseball, basketball and football, adds that over the course of four days, he was able to finish his special gift.

Tommy working on his bat using the whittling tool that once belonged to his grandfather. (Photo: Amanda Rhomberg)
Tommy Rhomberg working on his bat using the whittling tool that once belonged to his grandfather. (Photo: Amanda Rhomberg)

“I started taking away bark with a knife. Then my dad found his dad’s whittling tool. I just started using that and that made it way better,” he says.

The bat maker went on to name his creation “The Great 2020 Derecho” after the storm, in which it was born and coincidentally during Walker’s actual birthday. The bat was well received by its new owner.

Tommy gifted the bat to his friend, Walker, whose birthday happened to take place during the storm. (Photo: Amanda Rhomberg)
Tommy gifted the bat to his friend, Walker, whose birthday happened to take place during the storm. (Photo: Amanda Rhomberg)

Rhomberg’s mother, Amanda Rhomberg, tells Yahoo Life that she was not surprised that her son decided to take on such a project.

“A project like that is a very Tommy thing to do,” she says. “He’s always been a creator and an inventor, and likes to make things, and work with his hands. I watched him carve it from the very beginning. And he just worked and worked. By the time he had stained it and polyurethaned it, he had it hanging to dry in the garage and... my jaw just dropped to the floor.”

Both mother and son agree that they have been surprised by the reaction the bat has gotten online, and Amanda hopes that it reminds others that “good can come from just about anything,” along with the importance of kids getting their hands dirty.

“Kids these days, [it] seems like video games or being on their phone is the popular thing to do,” she says, “and I think just getting outside and playing, working with your hands, it’s almost a lost art in a way.”

Rhomberg’s bat was so popular that he has gotten countless requests to make more, which he will be selling through his website. He plans on donating $20 from every purchase to help in the recovery of Greater Cedar Rapids, which was hit hard by the derecho storm.

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