Cory Hahn is a humble and passionate man about the game of baseball and helping others. His career trajectory had him on pace to play professional baseball, until a spinal cord injury changed his life. With the help of Trevor Williams, Project 34 and others, he’s helping those that suffered the same injury have a better life.
In order to understand how Project 34 went from concept to reality, you have to go back to how Hahn and Williams’ friendship began. Their friendship began in high school, continued though college at Arizona State University. Since then, Williams has supported Hahn in many ways.
“His friendship has definitely been a huge aid in my development. Especially with what I went through with my injury. Once I was hurt, he was the guy that always reached out to make sure that I went to rehab, making sure that I had everything I needed when I got back to school. You realize that you’re not in this battle alone. To have people like him in your life to support you everyday, to help you chase down your dreams and goals helps tremendously in my growth as a human being and dealing with my injury,” said Hahn.
Hahn and Williams are both enjoying successful careers in Major League Baseball. Hahn as the Coordinator of Pro Scouting for the Arizona Diamondbacks, while Williams is a pitcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They’re professional success and friendship led to Project 34 and the desire to impact lives.
“It came together organically between myself and Trevor Williams. One of the many things we have in common is our willingness to give back to the community and help others. We always talked about doing something like this and putting a foundation together based around spinal cord injuries. It was finally able to come to fruition a little over a year ago. We were both able to take a moment to look at our lives and realize we’re in good spots. We’re both at really good times in our lives to make this happen,” Hahn said.
Project 34 recently held its inaugural Dingers in the Desert event at Phoenix Municipal Stadium, in Phoenix, Arizona. It takes a team of Project 34 staff, the baseball community, Phoenix community and vendors to support an event of this magnitude. Together, they made the first event successful.
“It meant the world to us. There are so many people out there that don’t have the necessary resources to live a fulfilling life that they can enjoy. The amount of people that raised their hand and are willing to help it’s truly a special feeling. One, you realize that you’re going to have the opportunity to help others. Two, you know that you’re going to have so much support along the way. That’s what we strive for. We have this vision to help other, but in order for that to happen, we’re going to need people to help. We’re going to need people to donate. We’re going to need those people behind us 24/7. It made for a really special day,” said Hahn.
In order to help more people, growth is a necessity. Project 34’s isn’t a short-term endeavor, but a long-term journey that’s meant to evolve, reach out and help as many people as possible.
“I can see Project 34 continue pushing the limits. That’s the unique thing behind the name. It’s always a project. It’s something that we are going to continue to grow, to expand, to continue to help as many as we can. If we can help one person, it changes that person’s life. Our goal is to help everyone as much as we can, as long as we can. That’s the special part.
The first inaugural Dingers in the Desert was just one avenue to be able to do that. As we continue to grow as an organization, we’re going to be able to reach out to more people. As we take those next steps, as we take what we learned from the first event and continue to grow with that, the opportunities are endless,” Hahn said.
Project 34 is preparing for to grow with the goal of being represented with all 30 major league clubs. They’re hoping to supplement their premier Dingers in the Desert event with Project 34 days.
“Our ultimate goal is to have that (Dingers in the Desert) and then throughout the year have multiple Project 34 days at different stadiums. We hope to have a Project 34 day throughout all 30 clubs. If we can have events like that to allows the community to learn about what we’re doing, to bring people that are directly affected to the ballpark and enjoy a great day at the ballpark. If we could do that for all 30 clubs that’d be an amazing accomplishment.
The marquee event that we will always gravitate to is Dingers in the Desert. It such a fun event. It encompasses everything that we’re about,” said Hahn.
Project 34 is a 501c3 non-profit organization and you can get involved by visiting their website.