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Oklahoma baseball: Impact of Pete Hughes' '19 Ways' community service program continuing to grow

While at Virginia Tech, Pete Hughes started the “19 Ways” program to honor his late mother Alice through his team’s 19 service projects every year. He has brought the program to Oklahoma and is now working to take it national.
by Ryan Aber Published: May 13, 2014

— Pete Hughes carries the legacy of his mother every day.

Alice Hughes’ favorite number was 19, the number the Oklahoma baseball coach wears.

Even bigger, though, is the program Hughes began two years ago as the coach at Virginia Tech and has carried over to Norman.

Hughes started the “19 Ways” program to honor Alice through his team’s 19 service projects every year.

“I wanted to do something where we could carry on her legacy and who she was and still be a part of my life and career and get our guys to do something productive other than just play college baseball,” Hughes said. “It kind of knocks out the entitlement of the college athlete and makes it more of a privilege situation.”

Alice Hughes was a nursing home nurse who tried to make life better for her patients — while also taking care of her sons. She died when Pete was 23.

“My mother was that happy face that supplied relief every day to these people, then she would come home and take care of four guys who couldn’t take care of themselves and feed them and do laundry,” Hughes said. “She was the ultimate giver.”

This year, the Sooners have read to children at the Moore Crossroads Children’s Center and spent an evening playing bingo and socializing with retirees at the Rivermont Retirement Home in Norman.

They spent a series of Monday afternoons in February and March giving clinics and running practices at Boys and Girls Clubs in Oklahoma City and helped Meals on Wheels deliver holiday poinsettias at Christmas time.

They played an ALS Awareness Halloween game in costumes to raise money for the Pete Frates No. 3 Fund and raised nearly $30,000 for the Vs. Cancer Foundation and OU Children’s Hospital.

This week, they’ll spend time at a food bank in Norman for project No. 19, though they don’t plan on stopping there.

As much as the people served by the various projects benefit, the players get plenty from the experience too

“It’s awesome,” Sooners infielder Hector Lorenzana said. “It definitely makes you a better person. Especially when I went to Children’s Hospital for their prom night. It makes you thankful for the little things.

“At first it was kind of sad but it really inspired me. All those kids had a smile on their face. It made me feel like I’m over here getting mad about this and that while these kids are battling for their lives. It kind of puts my life in perspective and makes me thankful for the things that I have.”

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by Ryan Aber
OU Athletics Reporter
Ryan Aber has worked for The Oklahoman since 2006, covering high schools, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, the Oklahoma City Barons and OU football recruiting. An Oklahoma City native, Aber graduated from Northeastern State. Before joining The...
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