For most of the country, the images of devastation in Baton Rouge, Louisiana have faded from view. The national media has turned its attention to other things. As awareness fades, Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles is hoping to use his platform as a professional athlete to raise funds for the victims of the flood.
Gausman, who makes his offseason home in Baton Rouge, has been affected on a personal level as many members of his fiancée's family are dealing with the flood. The Orioles pitcher has set up a GoFundMe page and hopes to raise $30,000 in two weeks. He has pledged to donate an additional $15,000 of his own money on top of whatever the campaign is able to generate.
Gausman spoke with Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun before Wednesday night's game in Washington, saying, "I think one thing that people don't realize is that yeah, the water has subsided but there are a lot of families who have nothing. Even my fiancée's cousin, they have a newborn baby, and she woke up in the middle of the night and put her feet down and there was standing water in their bedroom. People don't realize that it happened very quickly."
"Being that I kind of have a platform down there, too, I just wanted to just do anything I can to bring some awareness and hopefully help," Gausman added.
The flooding in Baton Rouge, which was brought on by three days and over 30 inches of torrential downpours, is the nation's costliest national disaster since Hurricane Sandy. The Red Cross estimates that over $30 million in damage has been done. The initial cleanup that is starting this week is only the beginning for many families who will have to completely rebuild their lives from the ground up.
Gausman hopes that this campaign is just the start to his work in the community. Specifically, he plans to help with a youth baseball team whose players were affected by the flood by providing equipment and other baseball supplies.
"I'm going to try to do some other things for the community down there. It's going to be a work in progress. I'll probably go into the offseason doing some stuff down there too. When you have that many houses affected, it's tough on a lot of families," he said.
Orioles fans are also getting in on the act and pledging to support Gausman, tongue in cheek or not. For the good of everyone involved, an Orioles victory by the score of 10-9 with much-lampooned starter Ubaldo Jimenez getting shelled would be the best possible outcome.
In less than 24 hours, Gausman has already raised over $10,000. You can donate to Gausman's campaign here.
Residents line up on Providence Boulevard in Hammond, La., where flood waters inundated their homes after heavy rains in the region Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Members of the Louisiana Army National Guard rescue people from rising floodwater near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo over Hammond, La., flooded homes are seen off of LA-1064 after heavy rains inundated the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Danielle Blount kisses her 3-month-old baby Ember as she feeds her while they wait to be evacuated by members of the Louisiana Army National Guard near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundating the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Residents, who evacuated their homes, drive on U.S. Route 190 in Hammond, La., where flood waters inundated homes after heavy rains in the region Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Floodwaters reach the front steps of a home near Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
People arrive to be evacuated by members of the Louisiana Army National Guard near Walker, La., after heavy rains inundating the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this aerial photo a boat motors between flooded homes after heavy rains inundating the region Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016, in Hammond, La. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards says more than 1,000 people in south Louisiana have been rescued from homes, vehicles and even clinging to trees as a slow-moving storm hammers the state with flooding. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
In this image released by the Louisiana National Guard (LANG), soldiers with the Louisiana National Guard help two women and a dog out of the back of a high-water vehicle on Airline Road in Baton Rouge, La., after being rescued in Millerville, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. The LANG has rescued more than 3,400 people and 400 pets during search and rescue operations since operations began 48 hours ago. (1st Lt. Gomez/U.S. Army National Guard via AP)
In this aerial photo over Hammond, La., cattle can bee seen huddled together in flood water after heavy rains inundated the region, Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Motorists on Highway 190 drive through deep water through Holden, La., after heavy rains inundated the region, Sunday, Aug. 14, 2016. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said Sunday that at least 7,000 people have been rescued so far. (AP Photo/Max Becherer)
Jeff Robinson lowers a ladder from a Louisiana National Guard truck as his wife wades through flood waters from the Natalbany River near their home in Baptist, La., Saturday, Aug. 13, 2016. Robinson was seeking a boat ride from state wildlife agents to pick up his wife and children when the National Guard truck arrived. A slow-moving storm that has dumped almost a foot of rain in Louisiana parishes south and west and Mississippi counties north of the Mississippi-Louisiana state line, are in for more rain. National Guard soldiers and other officials in boats and helicopters plucked more than 1,000 people from their homes and cars as "unprecedented, historic" flooding swamped Louisiana, the governor said Saturday. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)