Billy Staples was a just a kid from Jersey until someone saw more in him than he saw in himself.

In this episode of The Journey of my Mother’s Son podcast, I sit down and talk with my friend, Billy Staples.  Billy and I have known each other for just a few years and have really only spent a few hours overall with each other, however, we’re kind of like soul mates when it comes to paying it forward.  We were introduced to each other a few years ago by a mutual friend and another author, Bob Solomon.  As I said, we immediately hit it off.  Not because we were both authors, Billy co-authored the book, “Before the Glory.”  Not even because we both absolutely loved baseball, it was our common desire to use the game of baseball to genuinely help kids.

So, when we were selling off all of our stuff, I had a few memorabilia items that I hadn’t sold.  Knowing that Billy runs BEST, Inc., a 501(c)3 charitable scholarship organization in the Lehigh Valley, I asked if he could use the remaining items of my collection for the silent auction at his fundraising event in November.  He was ecstatic and grateful that I’d be willing to donate the items to his organization.  Two days before we moved out of our house, I drove to his place in Nazareth and gave him the items.  We hung out and talked for several hours and he invited Sandy and I to the fundraiser to be his guests.  He even offered his driveway for us to stay for the weekend.  I was hesitant to make a commitment because being in Pennsylvania in November was something that Sandy and I definitely were not planning on doing when we started this journey.  We already had to be back in Pennsylvania in late October to take care of some things for Sandy’s mom, so it was really a matter of delaying our plans of heading to warmer weather by a week, but I was still skeptical of the weather.

We agreed to stay in Pennsylvania the extra week, the weather was cold, we had to run the furnace a lot and were going through propane like it was going out of style, but we have no regrets at all.

To hear Billy talk about BEST, is one thing, to witness it first-hand, is a completely different experience.  Sandy and I were both humbled to hear the stories of the kids that went through the program as well as how the program touched so many former MLB players.

As an added bonus, we also got a chance to chat with our old friend, Bill “Spaceman” Lee, who we missed when we were in Vermont, but happened to be attending the BEST fundraiser.

God always seems to put us in the places where he knows we need to be.  Attending the BEST event recharged my battery and reminded me of what incredible work my old organization, BIG Vision Foundation had done for kids over the years.

The ripple effects of being a positive influence in a young person’s life are something that will live on long after we’re gone.

Billy and I encourage you all to, “Pay it Forward.”

Below are kinks to both the video and audio only versions of the podcast: