Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West, along with pitching phenom Mo’Ne Davis, provided the Little League World Series as much attention as it’s had any year since Danny Almonte fooled everyone.
JRW may have lost in the championship game to South Korea, but the team captivated America during a stretch when the country desperately needed it (and still does). One of the squad’s key contributors, however, recently received a blessing bigger than any title could ever bring. Jaheim Benton has a roof over his family’s head now thanks to Leak and Sons Funeral Home in Chicago who announced they will pay the family’s rent for an entire year.
Benton’s family has been homeless since June and forced to live in separate friend’s houses. Somehow, miraculously, the kid kept his focus on baseball.
But while Jaheim had a knack for rounding the bases and getting to home, the 12-year-old had no place to call home. With Jaheim’s parents both struggling to find full-time work, the family was forced to split up and stay at friends’ houses.
It began when Jaheim’s mom, Devona Benton, had her hours cut as a home care provider. Scrounging for work, she was one of the last parents to make it to Williamsport.
“I’m very anxious to get there to see my son and the rest of the boys. I’ve been following and supporting them since they’ve been playing. I ain’t giving up, boys. I’m coming,” said Devona Benton.
Jaheim’s father, a part-time radiator technician, also made it to Williamsport. Despite their money problems, Jaheim stayed focused on baseball. [ABC-Chicago]
Benton tallied five runs in the LLWS, including the run that gave Jackie Robinson West the National Championship game versus Las Vegas.
Jaheim’s mother was moved by the gesture, a donation that will unite her family under one roof again. But even during her family’s blessing, she had but one request: for the focus to remain on JRW and her son’s accomplishments, not her family’s plight.
That warm, fuzzy feeling in your chest? Don’t worry, it’s not acid reflux or indigestion. We’ve all got it. Here’s to the Benton family locking down consistent work in the very near future and putting this rough stretch permanently in the rearview.