Daniel Valdez is a proud letterman | VailDaily.com

Daniel Valdez is a proud letterman

Eagle Valley High School baseball coach Jesse Meryhew presents team manager Daniel Valdez with his new varsity letter jacket. The jacket was a gift from the Jody Hern Memorial Golf Tournament, which has given more than $40,000 in scholarships and awards to EVHS students. Meryhew nomitated Daniel for the jacket gift, noting "it couldn't happen to a better kid."
Special to the Daily |

GYPSUM — Wearing a varsity letter jacket is a proud accomplishment for any kid, but Daniel Valdez may just be the proudest letterman around.

Only days before Christmas, Daniel received a very special present compliments of the Jody Hern Memorial Golf Tournament, Eagle Valley High School baseball coaches Jesse Meryhew and Paul Sabo and the owners of Glenwood T-Shirts. His personalized letter jacket notates that he is the team manager for the Devil’s baseball and basketball teams and his cost for the coat was $0.

As any parent can testify, letter jackets don’t come cheap. Shawn and Michelle Morrison know that from experience because they have purchased jackets for sons Jacob and Justin. The Morrisons are the organizers of the annual Jody Hern Memorial Golf Tournament, an event that honors Hern’s legacy with scholarships and awards to EVHS students, and their personal experience inspired them to reach out to Devils’ coaches to see if they could pay for a letter jacket for a kid who deserved one but might not be in a position to purchase it. The fund offered to pay for a jacket for one boy and one girl at EVHS this year.

“Coach Paul Sabo texted me right away and said ‘Daniel needs that jacket,’” said EVHS head baseball coach Jesse Meryhew.

“Daniel is our team manager and he always seem to say the right thing at the right time to keep the situation light,” said Meryhew. “He is a super hard worker and he gives things his all. That’s something you don’t see a lot of these days.”

“If there is one thing I could say about Daniel it would be that he loves his team and he loves his teammates,” Meryhew said. “You couldn’t have this happen to a better kid.”

Beyond belief

“When I called Jesse to ask him about Daniel, he just couldn’t stop talking about what a great kid Daniel is and how hard he works,” said Shawn Morrison. Once he met him, Morrison agreed.

“Daniel was just thrilled about getting a jacket, beyond belief, to tell you the truth,” said Morrison.

Morrison contacted Daniel right before the Thanksgiving break to tell him about the gift. Once he got the OK from his parents to accept the offer, Daniel and Morrison made a trip to the Glenwood T-shirt Shop to make his personalization choices and get fitted for his jacket.

Morrison said Daniel kept asking about what he could do to pay for the jacket and it took a while to sink in that it was truly a gift. But Daniel’s inspiring ways didn’t end there. At the T-shirt shop, when the owner learned his story, she donated the jacket and the appliques. In the end the $400 jacket only cost the memorial fund $128.

Daniel said his jacket is his new favorite article of clothing and he plans to wear it daily all winter.

“It was a privilege to do this for Daniel,” said Morrison.

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