Badges for Baseball: Wake County deputies join Miracle League for special coaching clinic

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) -- Badges for Baseball is a nationwide program that builds positive connections between law enforcement and at-risk populations.

With the help of Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation, the Wake County Sheriff's Office and the Miracle League of the Triangle put on a 4-week baseball clinic that for the first time brings together players with the law enforcement community.

18 years ago was the worst night of Peter Gonzalez's life.

Now, he's using baseball to make it a night these kids will never forget.

"This is very rare, it doesn't happen very often," said Michael, a baseball player. "It's my once in a lifetime thing."

"They're like our little buddies and just you can see the look in their eyes," Gonzalez said. "They're thrilled they are a part of a program like this."

The Miracle League of the Triangle teamed up with the Wake County Sheriff's Department for a first of its kind clinic helping bridge the gap between law enforcement and the special needs population.

"You come into this world one time do good things and good things will happen to you," Gonzalez said.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Peter was trying to find the good even while all the news was bad.

"Chaos, mayhem, people were out of sorts," he said. "They had no idea what was going on everything stopped. The city froze in a moment."

At the time he was a NYPD officer stationed at Shea Stadium helping monitor the area and transport equipment to Ground Zero.

"It was just a day in hell that you'd experience," he said. "Thank god some of us are still here to share the experience and what transpired that day."

Peter said experiences such as 9/11 are a permanent reminder of how quickly life can be taken away so it's important for him and the entire sheriff's department to give back any chance they can.

"We're just lucky to be here," he said. "You don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, just be thankful."

"Sometimes we help people in tragedy, sometimes you help them when things are really good," said Deputy Sheriff Kevin Moore. "There's always a blessing for everything and this definitely is a blessing for us."
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