The Lancaster Barnstormers baseball team dedicated their home opener Thursday night to Lieutenant Andre Kelley, the city firefighter who continues to recover from serious burns he suffered during a fatal fire in February.
Kelley's children, daughter Ajanae and son Andre Jr., threw out the honorary first pitches, and other city firefighters participated in a tribute to their colleague. A portion of pre-sold tickets to the game were donated to Kelley's recovery efforts, and a fund set up in his name collected money for Kelley and other local firefighters battling through injuries.
It's good for Andre to know that the whole community, not just the fire
department, is rallying around him and that we haven't forgotten about
him," fellow firefighter Chuck Coleson said.
Kelley couldn't make it to the game, but from his hospital bed he watched his children on the pitcher's mound through an Internet live stream, then gave them a fatherly 'thumbs up' from his web camera.
"My heart has been beating out of my chest since we got here," his wife Lioness said. "The community
has been amazing, and all my husband keeps is 'I did my job. That's my job.' "
His family said Kelley has started to take steps on his own, and is making an impressive recovery.