Kelowna’s Tim Jackson (top right), with members of a baseball academy in Cardenas, Cuba, wearing donated gear from the Central Okanagan Minor Baseball Association. -Image credit: Contributed

Kelowna man gets ball gear to young Cubans

Tim Jackson delivers equipment, donated by Kelowna baseball organizations, to Caribbean island

On a family vacation to Cuba this spring, Kelowna’s Tim Jackson decided he would combine pleasure with charity.

And now a handful of young Cuban baseball players are reaping the benefits.

Jackson, a one-time coach and fan of anything baseball, reached out to the Central Okanagan Baseball Association (COMBA) this spring to gather gear to take with him on the trip.

While on the Caribbean island in March, he was able to connect with a man who ran a local baseball academy in Cardenas, a small town near Varadero. Many of the kids there are now outfitted in used ball equipment from Kelowna.

“It’s a very rewarding experience that wouldn’t be possible without the help of organizations like COMBA, and the Cuban kids were filled with such gratitude that it makes it all worth it,” said Jackson.

“I would really like to thank COMBA for allowing me to be the vessel that provides such joy to these kids, words can’t really describe what an honor it is for me.”

Active in charity work for many years, Jackson has consistently had support from local baseball organizations.

As a former coach in Rutland Minor Baseball, Jackson has seen firsthand the abundance of equipment which doesn’t get used and has long been aware of the need for gear in countries around the world.

Jackson called upon Burton Fisher and Guy Posella, the equipment manager and President of COMBA, and they were more than happy to oblige.

“It’s a win-win,” Jackson said. “They get rid of old equipment and someone in need benefits”.

“Now that the two organizations (Rutland and Kelowna) have amalgamated and become one, COMBA, it is a lot easier gathering the gear.”