Iowa boy selling baseball bats from fallen trees to help storm victims

A 12-year-old boy in Iowa turned tragedy into triumph.

After August’s wild wind storm known as a derecho, Tommy Rhomberg has crafted more than 200 baseball bats, which he sold to raise money for victims of the storm, from fallen branches.

Each bat, about 30 inches long, made with his grandfather's whittling tools and sandpaper, sells for $100, and Tommy has donated $20 from each sale to the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation Disaster Relief Fund.

Tommy Rhomberg is pictured with bats made from storm debris. Each bat, about 30 inches long, is made with his grandfather's whittling tools and sandpaper. (Photo credit: Amanda Rhomberg)

His mom Amanda posted photos of the bats on Facebook, which went viral.

"This is just Tommy," Amanda said. "He's always been super creative and loves building stuff. He woke up at 6 a.m. to work on it over the course of a few days until it was perfect. When I saw it, my jaw just dropped."

Tommy's mom isn’t just in awe of her son but super proud, even if his hands are covered in blisters from all his hard work.

"I don't know how his little hands can do so much," Amanda said. "He has put in hundreds of hours into making these bats. I am so proud of him for teaching himself a new skill and starting a business while doing so much good. He shows that you can make a difference in your corner of the world by doing what you can with what you have."

The family designed a website called "The Great Derecho," and the bats can also be seen on Facebook.

Tommy now has a waitlist of more than 600 people looking to purchase the bats.

"I am 12 years old and my parents won't let me drop out of the 6th grade," Tommy explained to potential customers who are waiting.

Get updates to this story on