Tommy Rhomberg

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Tommy Rhomberg has always been an inventor. So, it was no surprise that he turned the tree branches littering the town after the August 10, 2020 derecho into something useful. His idea was to hand whittle a bat for his friend Walker’s birthday using a straight branch he found in his yard.

That was just the beginning of his new adventure. As word got out orders began coming in and his parents John & Amanda Rhomberg bought him a used lathe. In round one he shipped out 125 bats and gave $20 from the sale of each bat to the Greater Cedar Rapids Foundation. Round two was shipped in time for Christmas and again money was given to the Foundation. Orders keep arriving on his website: www.thegreatderecho.com with over 2,000 bats on the wait list.

Tommy’s new endeavor has gone viral on social media, local, national and NPR news. He has received recognition and awards from several organizations and featured as one of the top 10 inspirational stories of 2020 in the Wall Street Journal.

Photos were furnished by Amanda Rhomberg.

To read more about Tommy’s bats go to Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun, February 4, 2021 article by Nathan Countryman and Mount Vernon Community School District Alumni News, Volume 16, Issue 2, Fall/Winter 2020-21 article by Amy Weber