Schilling pitches in to help flood victims, breaks down in Wilson County

Tribune News Service • Sep 3, 2017 at 9:00 PM

MT. JULET – Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling was en route to bring relief supplies for Harvey victims when he suffered a setback Saturday.

Anyone who knows Schilling knows that he doesn't give up easily.

Schilling took off from his Medway, Massachusetts home Friday on a trip he dubbed Operation Bullpen, determined to bring needed supplies to the storm-stricken region.

Everything was going well, until Saturday afternoon when Schilling tweeted, “OK in a jam. Think we may have lost an axle on trailer mile marker 228 I-40 outside Nashville. Just got a disinterested truck repair guy. So putting call out. Trailer going nowhere we need new trailer and possibly help offload and onload to new trailer.”

Schilling’s trailer broke down at mile marker 228 near Mt. Juliet.

Schilling is adept at getting his message out through social media, and his legion of Twitter followers – more than 214,000 – came to the rescue.

Schilling off-loaded the goods from his trailer and onto a U-Haul with the help of several people and fans before he took off again.

Schilling collected supplies last week before embarking on the trip. He said he received $5,000 in donations via Paypal and a $100,000 donation from car magnate Ernie Boch Jr.

Schilling took to Periscope early Sunday and said he was nearing Texas. How long will he stay? “As long as they need us,” he said.

He also posted on Facebook Live a bit later:

Schilling took some criticism last week when he first announced the effort.

Schilling, who pitched for the Houston Astros for one season early in his career, arranged for a trailer to be set up outside a Shaw’s supermarket in Medfield, where he lives, to collect any donations.

Just about everything Schilling does these days sparks controversy, and his Houston fundraising effort is no different. Some commenters on Twitter questioned why had donations directed to him instead of to charities that are on the ground in Texas.

In response, Schilling tweeted, ‘‘No worries man. No need to donate if you don’t trust where the money is going.’’ He said he’s planning to host his talk show on the conservative Breitbart News website while he’s in Texas.

Fernando Martinez, spokesman for the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network, told the Associated Press that Schilling is ‘‘well-intentioned,’’ but it’s good to contribute to vetted, registered charities rather than individuals.

Sean Smyth, The Boston Globe

Mark Shanahan with The Boston Globe contributed to this report. 

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