Allen Howell

Allen Howell of Poolville is the namesake of the AUsome Allen Foundation.

In February, an inaugural benefit softball tournament was such fun and so successful that organizers are ready to swing for the fences again.

“We figured if we do it twice a year, the more kids we can help, and the more happiness we can bring,” said Erica Howell, who established the 501c3 nonprofit AUsome Allen Foundation earlier this year with her husband, Ricky. “The more sponsors we get, the more things we can do, and the more kids we can send to camp.”

The February event raised $12,000 to send 10 kids to the Down Home Ranch summer camp near Austin.  The Howells hope to raise enough money to send 10 more kids. (The Howells have five children, including Allen, an autistic teenager who attends Poolville High and is the namesake of their nonprofit group.)

The 410-acre Down Home Ranch offers social, educational, residential and vocational opportunities for people with disabilities. 

In February, 24 teams registered for the event. The Howells hope to sign up 36 teams for the July event and raise even more money. Currently, 16 teams have registered.

“We want to reach for more teams every year, and we think that 36 is a reachable number,” Howell said. “The more teams, the more money it brings in, and the more people it brings in.”

The July tournament will include a giveaway of several expensive electric wheelchairs. Not long ago, a listener called Jason Pullman, radio host of an afternoon drive-time show on 99.9 The Wolf, and donated an electric wheelchair. Pullman asked listeners to help him find the right person for the chair, and Erica Howell called and told him about the foundation.

“We know a bunch of families in need of these kinds of items that are really expensive,” Howell said.

Pullman agreed to donate the wheelchair to the Howells' foundation — and to attend the tournament on the 24th to emcee the giveaway. Another donor offered two more electric wheelchairs.

“One wheelchair is five years old, and one is brand new and works perfect,” Howell said. “We have three of these amazing wheelchairs that we’re going to donate at our tournament. That helps families financially so much.”

Country music entertainers Aaron Watson and Wade Bowen donated autographed items for an auction, and someone donated a dunk tank, which will be set up at the event. Vendors and a bounce house will be on site.

Sponsors so far include Hartin Tree Service and Berkey Plumbing.

Entry fee for softball teams is $300, which covers umpire fees. To enter a team, become a vendor or volunteer to help, contact the Howells at the AUsome Allen Foundation’s Facebook page or call or text them at 817-901-8273.

The Second Bi-Annual AUsome Allen Foundation Benefit Softball Tournament is July 24 and 25 at Holland Lake Softball Fields on Holland Lake Drive in Weatherford. Free admission to visitors.

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