Texas Rangers pitcher Cole Hamels and his wife Heidi gifted quite the Christmas present to Camp Barnabas, a Missouri-based charity. The couple donated its 32,000-square-foot mansion on Table Rock Lake, a popular vacation and recreation destination in Branson, Mo. Camp Barnabas is a faith-based non-profit charitable organization that benefits people with special needs and chronic illnesses.
The Hamels' donation is the largest in Camp Barnabas history. In addition to the mansion, the Hamels donated more than 100 acres of lake shoreland and amenities, including a massive playground.
"Our mission is to change lives through disability ministry, and we've been strategically looking for ways to expand our ministry outside of a summer camp," says Jason Brawner, Camp Barnabas CEO, in a press release. "We have no doubt that this gift will allow us to do just that."
The couple reportedly looked to sell the mansion back in the summer. According to MLB.com, the couple constructed the 10 bedroom, 13 bathroom mansion near Heidi's hometown while Cole still played for the Philadelphia Phillies. After he was traded to the Rangers, the couple bought a home in the Dallas/Fort-Worth area and never moved to Branson.
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The donation draws more eyes to the Hamels Foundation, Cole and Heidi's own non-profit. That organization is best known for building a primary school in the Mulanje District of Malawi, Africa.
"Seeing the faces, hearing the laughter, reading the stories of the kids they serve; there is truly nothing like it," says Cole in a press release. "Barnabas makes dreams come true, and we felt called to help them in a big way."
Cole Hamels rose to professional prominence as the left-handed ace of the 2008 world champion Philadelphia Phillies. His rotation mates with the Phillies included future country singer Brett Myers. He joined Texas Rangers after a mid-season trade in 2015. His wife Heidi brings her own level of celebrity to the family. She competed on Survivor: The Amazon in 2002.