Bay Area Proud

San Jose Man Donates Collection of 25,000 Baseball Cards to 9-Year-Old Who Lost All Hers in Wildfire

Kevin Ashford says he was planning on selling the cards until he heard about Reese Osterberg losing her collection in the Creek Fire

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Let's be honest, when a home is surrounded by dozens of firefighters, CHP cruisers, and TV news cameras, it is rarely because something good happened. On Tuesday, though, it was because of a rare act of generosity that everyone had assembled in front of Kevin Ashford's San Jose home.

Kevin was about to make a little girl he had never met very, very happy.

"I would give anything to see the smile on her face when she receives them," Kevin said.

The girl he is talking about is 9-year-old Reese Osterberg. She lives in Fresno County and like hundreds of other families, lost her home last month in the Creek Fire.

Destroyed in Reese's home was the young baseball fan's precious baseball card collection. She had collected 100 cards over the past three years.

When members of CalFire/Fresno County Fire heard of Reese's story, they started spreading the word and asking for donations to replace her lost cards.

It was a message that made its way to San Jose and Kevin.

"I got to thinking about what I had in the garage," Kevin said. "I thought, you know, what of instead of selling them on eBay, I'm going to donate them. I'm gonna donate them all and put a smile on a little girl's face."

Now, when Kevin says, "all," that really means something. He didn't have just a few cards in his garage. He has a collection he has been amassing since the late 1990s.

"My best guess at this point is probably, and it's probably underrated, is about 25,000 cards," Kevin said.

When CalFire/Fresno County Fire heard about the enormous donation, they asked their colleagues in Santa Clara County to help out. That is why the team of first responders showed up at Kevin's door. They were there to cart away the dozens of boxes holding Kevin's collection, beginning their journey to to a most-deserving recipient.

Kevin says he can only guess at this moment how much this collection would be worth on the open market, but he knows that in the right hands, for the right reason, it's absolutely priceless.

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