Visionaries: Robin Rose and Tony Withers, Miracle League of the Triangle

Visionary: The front-runner of a business that is dedicated to the long-term support of a worthy cause

Robin Rose says he saw an episode of HBO’s Real Sports featuring the Miracle League in 2004 and instantly knew he and Tony Withers would establish a branch of the organization in the Triangle. “When I saw it, the first thing that came to my mind was I’ve got to call Tony,” he said. “If he’d seen it, he would have done the same thing.”

The Miracle League’s goal is to improve the lives of special needs children through baseball. Neither had experience with special needs children personally, but they felt an instant connection with the cause.

The pair traveled to other fields making notes on what to do and what to avoid. “The way Robin is and the way I am, we’re not going to do it halfway. We’re going to do it right,” Withers said. They decided to build a track surrounding the field as well, because the existing track at Adams Elementary was in poor shape.

“From the time we decided to build one to the time we were playing ball it was about 18 months,” Withers said. Construction was funded through donations from individuals and businesses. The field is bordered by a wall with tiles honoring those who contributed to the realization of their dream.

The field was dedicated Andy’s Foundation Field in honor of the community service branch of Andy’s Burgers, Shakes & Fries. The first game was in September 2006, and the program has grown tremendously since then.

“We’ve got about a 300-kid capacity. We’re at about 270 or 280 now, and we don’t want to turn anybody away. So we need to get going now for the next field,” Withers said. Fortunately, the next field is already in planning for a location in North Raleigh. Withers said expansion will continue once the Raleigh field is up and running.

Ultimately, “Our goal is to get something started and get out of the way, start it and let it run itself,” Withers said. He and Rose both believe the focus should remain on the children, and they invite everyone to visit a game in person to experience the excitement and joy that the kids experience.

“As honored as we both are, at the end of day we want you to know it’s not about either one of us. It’s about the kids first, and the parents and the community building,” Rose said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *