February 10, 2009

Fundraisers are underway to help Hali Easley
of Hatteras play for a national softball team


Hali Easley, lifelong Hatteras resident and graduate of Cape Hatteras Secondary School, has recently been invited to play for a national softball team in the Aruba Big Dance Series this summer, from June 16-23.

Easley, who currently attends Louisburg College on a softball scholarship, was selected for the team by USA Athletes International (USAAI), a non-profit organization dedicated to giving amateur athletes and coaches the opportunity to play in international, Olympic-style sporting events across the world.

USAAI selects only players that have been recommended to them by coaches or other athletic professionals, and they evaluate nominees on character, leadership potential, and academic efforts, in addition to athletic ability. 

It is a huge honor and a great opportunity for Easley, who, according to her mother, Margie Easley, was recommended to USAAI by Mandi Balduf, the head coach for Chowan University.

Balduf, who will also coach the USAAI team, apparently nominated Easley after seeing her impressive performance in a Louisburg-Chowan game, and Easley’s stellar record at Louisburg—three semesters on the Dean’s List, two consecutive Scholar Athlete awards, and induction into the Phi Theta Kappa honor fraternity—made her a perfect candidate for the USA team. 

“She’s very excited,” Margie said of her daughter, who is now back at Louisburg for her fourth and final semester and her last softball season at the two-year college. “And we’re so proud of her.”

But in order to go to Aruba this summer, Easley must raise $3,500 to cover travel and other expenses that the organization doesn’t provide.

While $3,500 is a lot of money, Margie says she feels confident that it will be raised with the help of friends and family, and a lot of support from the community. The Easleys are on their way to their goal.

Mary Ellon Ballance, owner of the Creative Ballance salon in Hatteras, has offered her recently vacant retail space, next to the pharmacy in Hatteras, to the Easleys for weekend yard sales, and Margie says that, as long as the weather is decent (as the space has no heat), she will continue holding yard sales there on Saturday mornings at 9 a.m.

Ballance will also have a “girls’ night out” on Saturday, March 14, from 3 to 5 p.m. She will be selling Silpada sterling silver jewelry with proceeds to benefit Hali.

The Easleys have also organized a spaghetti dinner, which will be at the Hatteras United Methodist Church in Hatteras village on Tuesday, Feb. 24, from 5 to 7 p.m.

Friends, family, and neighbors are going make or donate all the necessary food and an $8 ticket will get you a take-out platter of salad, bread, and homemade spaghetti, with drinks and desserts available for a little extra.

In addition, a donor who wishes to remain anonymous, has given the Easleys a brand-new, fully-loaded laptop computer to raffle off. 

The $5 raffle tickets, as well as tickets for the spaghetti dinner, will be available at various businesses and events throughout the community, including the Saturday yard sales, Ballance Oil in Hatteras, RBC Bank in Buxton, where Easley’s older sister, Carrie Barley, is the relationship banker, and at high school basketball games, where Easley’s younger siblings, twins Maggie and Robbie, play varsity basketball. 

And anyone who would like tickets is also welcome to contact Margie Easley at 305-5251.

It is important to Hali and her family that she be involved with the fundraising, but because of her extremely busy schedule at school, she is rarely able to come home, especially during softball season.

So, they are planning to hold the raffle drawing on Saturday, April 11, after the annual Easter egg hunt at the Hatteras United Methodist Church, where hopefully, Hali herself will be able to come home for the holiday and draw the winning name.

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