John and Sandy Li have a lot to be thankful this Thanksgiving.
When their son took his life earlier this year, they had no idea how a stranger would change their life.
Their son Blake was 17-years-old. He was a catcher for Jonathan Alder High School, a baseball powerhouse winning five straight district titles.
“He loved baseball”, Sandy said.
He attended a baseball camp at Western Kentucky and told his parents–he hoped to play there someday.
She and her husband hoped Blake would fulfill his dream of playing college baseball.
“I talked to Blake three times that day”, says his mom.
The day was January 26, 2015. A normal day, turned into a parent’s worst nightmare.
Blake took his life in the family home for reasons his parents still don’t know.
Western Kentucky coaches continued to send recruitment letters unaware of the tragedy.
“For them to try to help us get closure get a sense of happiness it’s an incredible thing,” John said.
WKU surprised the Li’s with a national letter of intent, a scholarship offer for their son. They sent a Hilltoppers jersey with his #10 and a hat.
“It was just really emotional for me,” Sandy said.
“I saw it and I said man, I’m going to follow this program for the rest of my life,” John said.
All of those gifts came from a coach who never knew their son.
“It’s more than just being a baseball coach it’s about impacting people’s lives and having a positive influence on people even people that you really don’t know,” WKU head baseball coach John Pawlowski said.
All from the gesture of a coach whose son’s scholarship they now hold, like catching a home run ball.
“I knew that his dream was coming true,” Sandy said.
The Li’s say they plan to attend a few Western Kentucky baseball games and hope to create a scholarship at the school in their son’s name.