Rangers Pitcher Cole Hamels donates $9M mansion to Christian charity

(Reuters/Lance Iversen-USA)Texas Rangers starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) walks off the field in the fourth inning of their MLB baseball game with the Oakland Athletics at O.co Coliseum. Sep 24, 2015;

Major League Baseball pitcher Cole Hamels has announced that he is donating his $9 million mansion in Missouri to a Christian charity that cares for children with special needs and chronic illnesses.

Hamels, who was traded from the Philadelphia Phillies to the Texas Rangers in 2015, had been building a mansion near Branson Missouri, in an area called Table Rock Lake.

After the trade, he and his family moved to Texas and decided that they want to live there full time. Instead of selling the 32,000 square-foot mansion that they have been building, Hamels and his wife, Heidi, opted to donate the property to a Branson-area non-profit organization called Camp Barnabas.

"There are tons of amazing charities in Southwest Missouri; out of all of these, Barnabas really pulled on our heartstrings," Hamels said in a press release about the donation.

"Seeing the faces, hearing the laughter, reading the stories of the kids they serve; there is truly nothing like it. Barnabas makes dreams come true, and we felt called to help them in a big way," he added.

According to Yahoo Sports, the charity offers day camp programs for children with chronic illnesses and special needs, and it matches each camper with its own volunteer and offers scholarships so no kid is turned away. It also ensures that every kid is accommodated at the camp regardless of any kind of need, and it has a full medical facility on staff with doctors and nurses.

Krystal Simon, the chief development officer for Camp Barnabas, said that Hamels' donation would allow the charity to "further our ministry and truly change thousands of lives for years to come."

At a news conference on Tuesday, Camp Barnabas CEO Jason Brawner said that the organization is still not sure what to do with the property, but he noted that it will not be used as a summer camp.

He stated that the there are no plans to sell the home in the immediate future and stressed that the charity is financially prepared to maintain the property.

Brawner expressed plans to solicit input from neighbors before moving ahead with any plans for the mansion, which is zoned as a single-family residence.

Hamels and his wife had approached Camp Barnabas about the donation six months ago, Brawner revealed.

The gift, which includes more than 100 acres on Table Rock Lake, was the largest donation in the history of Camp Barnabas.

At the time the donation was announced, the property was valued at about $9.4 million on Realtor.com.

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