Board of Directors
Nick Brouwer found out about the Miracle League project through interactions with Tony Comden at the Wolverine World Wide Family YMCA. Nick is the Program Director at the YMCA, and when it was realized that the Y could play a role in making the Miracle League successful, Nick immediately knew that this was something he wanted to be a part of. Growing up just outside of Grand Rapids, sports and outdoors defined Nick and continues to do so. He was a multi sport athlete throughout high school and continued to pursue his passion at GVSU in sports management. Now Nick uses that experience by coaching kids and organizing leagues at the YMCA. His passion and excitement for the miracle league stems from growing up with a sister who is mentally and physically disabled. Nick believes that anyone who's been blessed with the opportunity to play sports as a child has a responsibility to give the next generation those same opportunities. Nick truly sees the Miracle League as an outlet for kids who wouldn't normally have an opportunity to play. It's a real chance to make a difference for kids and families in our community.
Tony Comden is a lifelong baseball fan, having played the game through high school and, more recently, coaching his daughter Riley and son Jed in their little league teams. Tony started the West Michigan Miracle League in the summer of 2011 to bring Miracle League baseball to the kids with disabilities in West Michigan. His passion for Miracle League baseball is driven by his son Jed, who is a brain cancer survivor and has learned to walk again. Tony has experienced first hand the joys that come from Jed playing tee ball in a conventional tee ball league, and he wants to provide that same opportunity and joy for other kids with disabilities and their families in West Michigan.
He is a partner in the Miller Johnson firm in Grand Rapids, focusing on representing management in labor and employment matters. Tony, and his wife Marcy, Riley, and Jed live in Zeeland.
Since moving to Grand Rapids in 2002, David Dickens has practiced pediatric hematology/oncology at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. He also currently serves as the Medical Director for the James B. Fahner Pediatric Programs at Hospice of Michigan. In these roles Dr. Dickens regularly witnesses the positive effects that result when children with medical challenges are given everyday opportunities to enjoy life. Combined with the power and passion of its hometown philanthropy, West Michigan stands second to none when it comes to its ability to build projects like the West Michigan Miracle Field.
Dr. Dickens lives on the Northwest side of Grand Rapids with his wife Laura and their five children; John, Sarah, James, Annie, and Caroline. As a native New Yorker, Dave aims to be the least obnoxious Yankees fan on the planet.
Jeff Fraser became passionate about the Miracle League Field after watching Jed Comden pursue his love of sports, regardless of his disabilities, with passion and courage. Jeff has committed many years to coaching his children and countless other kids in football, basketball and baseball. He has run the Forest Hills Youth Football League for several years. Jeff has tried to use sports to teach children to become fine young people striving to work hard and achieve the most they can through sports, regardless of the level they ultimately reach.
Jeff is married to Lisa, his spouse and best friend for the last 25 years. He has three great children including Nick, Alexandra and Bryce. Jeff is a labor and employment attorney at Miller Johnson and he and his family live in Ada.
Mike Guswiler grew up in the greater Detroit area surrounded by sports and found the need to compete at a very early age (being the sixth of seven boys in his family). Hand-me-down equipment and well-broken-in baseball gloves were a way of life in a large family, but Mike pressed on with a passion for sports competing in alpine skiing, soccer, basketball, football, and baseball.
Mike is a CMU Chippewa alum, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant Michigan. He was named the Executive Director of the West Michigan Sports Commission (WMSC) in June 2007 as its first employee and has since been leading the organization in its daily operations.
Mike spends his leisure time coaching his kids soccer and lacrosse teams and skiing or snowboarding at Cannonsburg ski area locally with his wife Julie and their four children; Olivia, Ian, Owen, and Pierce.
Rick Huisman’s love for the game of baseball started while watching the 1977 World Series when Reggie Jackson hit three consecutive Home Runs (all on the first pitch). It was in that moment that Rick wanted to become a Major League Baseball Player. In 1995 that dream became reality. Rick is looking forward to helping make it possible to see more dreams come true for many kids and the game of baseball.
Rick currently serves as the Executive Director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth and the pitching coach for the Hope College Baseball Team. Rick is incredibly thankful to his wife, Nicole, of 16 years for putting up with him every day. Rick is blessed with 3 incredible kids, Jack, Mason, and Avery.
In Memorium Nate Hurwitz
Nate was a student at Forest Hills Eastern High School. Nate brought a unique perspective to the challenges of playing and enjoying sports with a disability. While born with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, Nate saw his physical abilities decline and his passion and love for baseball grow. Being involved in the West Michigan Miracle League allowed Nate to share his passion towards a goal to include others and enjoy the game of baseball together as it was meant to be. Nate was a HUGE Boston Red Sox fan and his goal was to see them play at all the ballparks in the U.S.. Nate had three dogs, named Fenway (for Fenway Park), Pepper and Teddy (for Ted Williams).
Nate truly loved our Miracle League project and was passionate about our mission to bring the joys of baseball to the disabled kids of West Michigan. We have been inspired by his selflessness and perseverance and amazing spirit. We are deeply saddened that Nate will not be with us in person when we celebrate our opening day for the West Michigan Miracle League, but we are confident that Nate's spirit, appreciation for the game, and love of others will be with us as we celebrate Miracle League baseball in West Michigan.
Nate passed away September 16, 2012. Nate is survived by his sister Sammi, and parents Dan & Stephanie who live in Ada.
Terry Renker made the crucial mistake of marrying a lifelong, diehard Detroit Tiger fan. Eventually, by osmosis, this transplanted Minnesotan came to love the Tigers and more importantly, love baseball.
In 2000 Terry started Harbor Rehabilitation which provides rehabilitation services to children and adults with neurological injuries. The West Michigan Miracle Field blends her love of baseball with her fierce belief that all kids, regardless of ability or disability, should be able to play baseball.
She and her husband Chris have two incredible adult children and live in Ada.