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Cal Ripken Jr. Helps Rebuild Tornado-Ravaged Homes

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Mary Bubala 370x278 Mary Bubala
Mary Bubala joined WJZ in December 2003. She now anchors the 4-4:30...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Baltimore’s own Iron Man swings a hammer instead of a bat. Cal Ripken Jr. is helping re-build tornado-ravaged homes in the south.

Mary Bubala reports his 13-city stop begins in Joplin, Mo.

It’s been a familiar sight in Joplin for the past few months. But what made the day different, besides a 10-foot pink bunny, is Orioles Iron Man Cal Ripken Jr.

Partnering with the Energizer Bunny and Joplin’s Habitat for Humanity, the 19-time All-Star took a swing with a hammer.

“I haven’t driven a nail in a long time, but when I was a kid my dad was a pretty handy guy. We’d be his helpers all the time. He would give us instructions the same way he gave us instructions about a baseball bat. ‘Make sure you use the full arm length of your hammer leverage; make sure you hit it hard’ and things like that. So I developed a little skill. I have a little hand-eye coordination,” Ripken said.

His hand-eye coordination will be put to test as Joplin is the first of a 13-city stop to rebuild homes.

Ripken’s impact is not only felt by the nail, but by the family that will call the foundation home.

“It’s such an amazing experience. The people took out of their time and come dedicate it to us. I mean it’s so amazing and all the volunteers, as well as Cal Ripken and everybody that’s here. It’s the best thing I’ve ever had,” said a family member.

“It’s always been uncomfortable with all the attention you receive being a baseball player, but I found out really quickly that you can use that attention to shine light on really good causes,” Ripken said.

Ripken says he’s happy to be a part of a program making such a positive impact.

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