Former Major League Baseball Coach Rich Donnelly Collects $7,400 for Urban Mission in Son’s Honor

Photo by Paul Giannamore Rich Donnelly presens $7,400 in donations in memory of his son, Michael, to the Rev. Ashley Steele of Urban Mission Ministries of Steubenville.

Retired Major League Baseball coach Rich Donnelly presented the Rev. Ashley Steele, executive director of Urban Mission Ministries, checks totaling $7,400 in memory of his son, Michael, calling his son and the people who work at the mission “heroes.”

Donnelly’s son died in Dallas in January after stopping to help a motorist who was stranded on a busy highway. He and another motorist were trying to push a car off the road when they were struck by another car. The woman who initially had stopped to help the stranded motorist said the younger Donnelly pushed her out of the way at the last second, saving her life.

“He pushed her out of the way so she wouldn’t be hit by the car and he did get hit. After he passed away, my wife, Roberta, said we should do something in memory of Mike,” Donnelly, a Steubenville native, said. He said his son would pass by the Urban Mission on his way to and from Steubenville High School and would say, “Someday, dad, I’d like to do something to help those people.”

Donnelly said he expected the area would contribute “maybe $1,000,” but instead he’s seen an overwhelming response.

“They feed twice a day here and Ashley Steele does a tremendous job,” he said. “Mike died a hero, saving a girl’s life. If you look at it here, at the mission, they’re heroes, too. They save a lot of people’s lives by feeding them, by taking care of them. There are a lot of people who are hurting, a lot of people in need.”

“I want people of the Tri-State Area to know how much the Donnelly family appreciates the outpouring of support, the checks, the cards, the gifts and everything else in Mike’s name,” Donnelly said.

“It’s an honor to us that we can carry on that same spirit of giving back to the community in different ways. We want to do that on his behalf and for all of your family, just to show that we want to continue the good work he’s been known to do,” Steele said.

Donnelly, who coached around professional baseball, including a stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates, could have retired anywhere but came back to Steubenville.

The generosity displayed in the donations, which are still mounting, “demonstrates what the people of the Tri-State Area feel, the kind of people they are. I am the luckiest person in the world. I grew up here. I was born and raised here. I saw the hard work, back in the day when the steel mills were running. The steel mills may be down, but the people who built them, their memory isn’t.

“I’ve been taught right. Most people in this area have been taught right by their parents, by their coaches, by their teachers. I’ve lived in L.A., I’ve lived in Miami, I’ve lived in Colorado, but I’ve always wanted to come back home, because this is where I feel more comfortable and I love the people here.”