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San Jacinto College
News Release
Thursday, August 18, 2011

Astros continue giving to injured draft pick


HOUSTON – San Jacinto College (SJC) pitcher Buddy Lamothe received a surprise gift of a new wheelchair accessible van from Houston Astros team owner Drayton McLane and the Astros in Action Foundation.


Lamothe was paralyzed in a diving accident in early May, shortly before the 2011 First Year Major League Player Draft where the Astros drafted in the 40th round. The Astros invited him to Minute Maid Park last month, along with teammate and roommate Tyler Wright, to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. During the game, McLane asked the family if had any needs, and they expressed the need for a wheelchair accessible van so Lamothe can get back and forth to The Institution for Rehabilitation and Research (TIRR) Memorial Hermann hospital for physical therapy, and to visit other places outside of his home.


"It's exciting for the Astros to reach out to someone that experienced hardship just a few weeks ago," said McLane in an article on "We had him (Lamothe) throw out a first pitch a few weeks ago, and I got to meet him and his mother and his girlfriend and sister. I just saw their courage and I asked his mother what the most difficult part was, and she said mobility. We hope this helps his mobility and helps him regain his health.”


In response, Lamothe stated, “It’s actually hard to surprise me, but this one got me.” He continued, “This van is going to help me a lot, both in the progression of my treatment and also just to get out of the house and spend time with friends, this is just unbelievable.”


The Astros worked with Pasadena’s Adaptive Driving Access, Inc., to find just the van for Lamothe to meet his needs. Jason Roberts, who had an accident at 10 years old and has been in a wheelchair ever since, worked hard behind the scenes to find just the right vehicle for Lamothe. Adaptive Driving’s general manager James Norris noted, “We’ve never seen anything like this before. It’s unbelievable what the Astros have done for Buddy, and Adaptive Driving is honored to be a part of something this special.”


San Jacinto College is also proud to have been a partner in this special gift. Several staff members worked behind the scenes to assist as well.


San Jacinto College Chancellor Dr. Brenda Hellyer brought her family to see the presentation of the van to Lamothe. “I brought my son and grandson out today because I want them to experience this,” said Hellyer. “I have been so amazed by Buddy’s courage through all of this and am overwhelmed at the generosity of the Houston Astros and Drayton McLane. I want these young men to see what a difference each one of us can make.


To view a video interview with Lamothe, please visit the Houston Astros website at


Photo: Astros general manager Ed Wade, manager Brad Mills and players Clint Barmes, David Carpenter, Mark Melancon, Sergio Escalona, Fernando Rodriguez and Bud Norris were on hand to help with the presentation of a new van to San Jacinto College baseball player Buddy Lamothe. Photo credit: Teri Fowlé, San Jacinto College marketing department.


About San Jacinto College: Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for 50 years. The College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of more than 29,000 students in over 140 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career-track choices. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.


For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, visit, or find us on Facebook at

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