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Community rallies for injured teen

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Softball tournament in Loretto will assist with recovery expenses

By Nick Schrager

What can you do in several seconds?

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Tie a shoelace? Type a search query? Dial a phone number?

In some instances, seconds are all it takes for your life to change forever. 

And on April 8, that’s exactly what happened to five Marion County teens.

Kyle Edlin, 17 (16 at the time), Anthony Firment, 18, Jacob Smith, 18, Michael Hunter Wimsatt, 18, and Dakota Mattingly, 18, were involved in a car accident on Scott’s Ridge Road. Though Mattingly was uninjured, the rest were rushed to the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky Hospitals. 

Thankfully, no one was killed. 

But as a result of the accident, Edlin’s left leg was amputated above the knee, and one of the things he loved most, playing softball, will never be the same.

Since he was four years old, Edlin has played softball and T-ball for the Loretto Youth League. 

His time there allowed him to socialize with friends and foster the spirit of competition.

Though he may never get to play again, he has an entire community by his side.

Amanda Whitlock and her husband, Earl, have been organizers of the Loretto Youth League for approximately 15 years. According to Amanda, this season each team in the league has named themselves in honor of Edlin. The team’s names include: Kyle’s Warriors, Kyle’s Rebels, Kyle’s Krew, Kyle’s Maniacs and Kyle’s Angels.

“On the back of all of our shirts we have ‘Playing for Kyle,’” Amanda said. 

Besides the name changes, she said she and her husband are having the children of the youth league donate a dollar or whatever they want at the end of the year. 

“And it’s been wonderful,” Amanda said. “They’ve been putting their change from the concession stand in the jar.”

So far she said, they have collected more than $150 and will present Edlin with a plaque.

But that is not the only thing being done.

According to Amanda, Edlin’s aunt, Tammy Edlin, has been promoting a cold water challenge to people on Facebook. Along with the challenge, several Loretto residents are going to great lengths to help their friend in need.

Including one mother and son duo.

The tournament

Justin Thompson is no stranger to putting on softball tournaments. Last summer, he helped organize the inaugural Derek Hutchins Co-Ed Softball Tournament.

This year, the tournament will be held again in honor of Derek but the benefits will go to Edlin.

For Thompson, the tournaments are a great way to bring the small community together. 

“Loretto is a small town,” Thompson said. “Besides the St. Francis Picnic, everybody kind of goes their separate ways. This gives the community a chance to come together and gives everybody a chance to see each other.”

Along with the social and fundraising aspects of the tournament, Thompson said the games act as a good gesture to those who need it most.

“It’s about showing support to the family in general,” Thompson said. 

The tournament will be held June 27-28, though he said it might be extended another day depending on how many more teams sign up. 

Currently, there are more than 15 softball teams registered to play and they’re still three weeks away from the first pitch.

“I have no idea how many we’ll end up with,” Thompson said. 

Registration is $100 per team or around $10 per person and the money will be given directly to Edlin and his family, Thompson said. 

From here, he hopes the tournaments will become an annual event to benefit a different cause each year. 

On June 28, there will also be an auction and dinner. The dinner is expected to start at 4 p.m. and will be held at Loretto City Hall.

Thompson’s mother, Amy, is hosting the meal and auction. She said they will be serving fried chicken, green beans, coleslaw, potatoes, a dessert, and drink. 

The entry for the dinner is $10 and they will also be hosting a raffle. The prizes for the raffle are an iPad air and a grill. 

Amy said she’s hosting the dinner and auction because she enjoys helping others. 

“I just know a family is in need,” Amy said. “So my son and myself kind of said you know, let’s do this, see if we can get the community together and raise some money.”

The Edlin family

In a phone interview with The Lebanon Enterprise, the Edlins expressed their gratitude to the community. 

“I think we’re just humbled by it,” Kyle Edlin’s mother, Gayla, said. 

She was almost at a loss for words when Edlin said her family was thankful.

“We’re just grateful,” she added.

Kyle’s father, Rodney, said the community has really shown them a great deal of love. 

“During hard times people come together and help out and that’s what we try to do ourselves,” he said.

Gayla said she wanted to say thank you to everyone who has supported them and helped them with their life’s tasks while they were at the hospital and at rehab. 

Rodney and Gayla also added that nothing would be possible without God, and that He has put all the right people on their path during their difficult times. 

“Without Him, Kyle wouldn’t be alive, he really wouldn’t,” Rodney said