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Barnes’ fight against cancer remembered

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Rival pays tribute to Anderson assistant who battled disease

By John Herndon

Anderson County got a bit of a surprise Wednesday when long-time rival Franklin County arrived wearing special shirts for the game with the Bearcats at Barnes Memorial Field.

“A really classy thing Franklin County did was wear pink shirts with the initials TCB IV on the front, and ‘Cancer Sucks’ on the back, in honor of our fallen and much missed baseball buddy (and former Bearcat assistant coach) Tommy Barnes,” said Anderson coach L.W. Barnes. “It was a class act and very honoring. It meant a lot, because I’m sure it was meant for just our game.”

Contacted about the shirts and the story behind them, Franklin County coach Deron McDonald said in an e-mail, “Tommy and I played high school baseball together and were really good friends growing up. We went to Morehead State University together until Tommy transferred to Georgetown to play baseball, before moving on to University of Louisville for his final three years of eligibility. David Cammack, my associate head coach and Tommy played summer baseball together for the American Legion team in Frankfort. Richie Tyre, another of my assistants, helped his dad, Don Tyre, coach the legion team during that time period.

“Needless to say, Tommy was a great friend to David and myself. We wanted to do something special to remember Tommy and thought that it would be nice to honor him in the Anderson County game by wearing the Pink Cancer Awareness shirts, so we had some made up and headed to Anderson County. 

“The Barnes family has been through a very rough stretch of battling cancer and we thought we would show our support for L.W. and others that have had to deal with the dreaded cancer disease. I know that L.W. thought the world of Tommy and visa-versa.

“Tommy was just one of those guys. What I mean is that no matter who asked him for something, he was always there for them. It is a shame that he didn’t live to be 100.  He worked countless hours with youth in baseball but most importantly he taught them to know God. His years as a youth minister and pastor were most important because he reached people in his own way and created avenues for youth to enjoy learning about God and Jesus Christ. Whether it was a mission trip to another country, playing basketball in a local gym, or just being himself, he knew how to make the worst situations turn into a positive one. That’s why so many people loved to be around him.

“Our players attended his visitation and funeral last year so most of them knew the relationship between Tommy and our coaching staff. Our booster club has taken on the responsibility of fixing the two baseball fields at the Frankfort YMCA that have been dedicated in Tommy’s memory.

Our coaching staff talked with the kids about what the shirts meant to us and the importance behind giving 100 percent effort in everything that you do in life because you truly never know from one day to the next if you will be here tomorrow. Tommy was that type of player. No matter what game in life he was faced with, you always knew that he would give 100 percent effort. Even when battling cancer, he was positive and faced it head on while battling down to the last breath.

“The shirts had TCB4 on the front for Thomas Carter Barnes IV, with the battle cancer symbol on the sleeve.

“On the back, the shirts had the players number and ‘Cancer Sucks’ which was made by Tommy and Lindsay Barnes to raise awareness of the dreaded disease. Tommy used that slogan to talk to people about his disease and about why a cure needs to be found. He will always be remembered by me and the rest of the Franklin County Baseball family as a great person that always put 100 percent effort into life.”