The host family experience could not have been better for our family. At first, opening our home to two college strangers seemed daunting. How would I feel walking around my own home with strangers underfoot? How would they interact with my 9 year old son? How much would they eat? All our initial worries were for naught.
The boys (as I still refer to them) were the most well-mannered and respectful young men. What great role models for my 9 year old son! Here were two young men who were following dreams with an amazing work ethic and a positive attitude. Although often gone with practice, traveling and games, the boys were not invasive to our home in any way. Not only did they respect our family but our home as well (better than my son does).
We were able to forge new friendships with the boys, their families, and also the Cane Cutter family. The Cane Cutter organization defines the Cajun hospitality not only to the baseball players but to the host families as well. The love of baseball is evident in how much time, attention, and resources that Richard and Sandi pour into the Cane Cutters organization.  We are blessed to be part of the Cane Cutters!


Our son, Brett Thornell, played for the Cane Cutters for the 2011 – 2013  summer seasons.   We trusted God and Brett’s assignment to the Cane Cutters.  We packed Brett and took him to [Louisiana] that first summer of 2011.  He was fortunate to be housed with Richard and Sandi Chalmers.  They opened their home to Brett.   He had such a great time, he returned to the Cane Cutters in July of 2012.  

For 2012 he was assigned to the Flynn family.   Living with the Flynns was a blessing to us and Brett.   Brett calls Tim his Host Dad, Nan his Host Mom and Mary his Host Sister.   Brett has a brother but not any sisters, so he thoroughly enjoyed having a host sister.  He would call and tell us all the wonderful experiences he was having with his host family.  The Flynns treated Brett as a son.   Brett returned for the 2013 season and rejoined the Flynns as his host family.   They are a blessing to our family beyond measure.   They allowed Brett to join their family while in [Louisiana], and have become part of his and our extended family.

Brett loves the game of baseball.   He appreciates the opportunity from Coach Lonny and the Cane Cutters to play the last three summers.  He has made many friends with the Cane Cutters’ players during his time in Lafayette.   While we missed him greatly when he was gone for the summers, it was  such a relief knowing the Cane Cutters worked so hard to find such wonderful host families to take in the players.  The host families show the players not only the hospitality, great cooking and sporting of Lafayette, the families share their love with the players.   For that, we are very grateful.  We feel Brett’s experiences and relationships he has formed will last a lifetime.  Our sincere thanks for the opportunities the Cane Cutters gave to Brett.  An extra special thanks to his and the many other host families that take in the Cane Cutters’ players.  Finally, good luck in the future to the Cane Cutters and Coach Lonny!

With Gratitude,

Connie & Joe Thornell

HOST FAMILY: Tim, Nan, and Mary Flynn - Summer 2012

    This past summer (2012), we were fortunate and blessed to be asked by Sandi to host a player.  We were hesitant at first as we were literally just getting back from a 2 week trip.  Thank goodness we decided to give it a try.  We loved it!  What a fabulous experience it was for myself, my husband, and our daughter.  Sandi works hard to insure that the players and host family have much in common and are ideally suited in interests and personalities. 
     The first player we hosted was Ryan Scott.  He was the brother our daughter never had.  Ryan was a thoughtful, funny, and considerate gentleman.  Unfortunately mid season he had to return home due to a transfer to another college.  We were so sad (I cried for several days) to see him go as he had become part of the family including our circle of friends.  Sandi blessed us again with another player, Brett Thornell, another remarkable young man .  He also fit in right away with us and our friends.  We shared many activities and experiences with our host sons – we fed, housed, and entertained them - but our reward was much greater.  We got to know their families and fellow teammates.  They enriched our lives tremendously and impressed us with their work ethic (love of the game), good sportsmanship, and love for their families (of whom they missed very much).  We have kept in touch with our summer sons, their families and several of the players that we got to know.  In fact, during Hurricane Isaac we hosted four pitchers from Nichols State, one was a Cane Cutter away from home that we got to know and love.  We have also met other host families and fans that we have become friends with and still keep in touch.
     Spring and summer baseball can’t get here fast enough.  We plan on going to our summer sons as well as some of the other Cane Cutter players' spring games that are close to home.  Here’s to 2013 bringing a season of great baseball and remarkable Cane Cutter players past and new. 
     I cannot express enough how blessed  and enriched our lives were with our Cane Cutter sons and fellow teammates.  Our regret was we didn’t do it the first summer.  So, if you are an empty nester, lover of sports, or just want to help out a player away from home needing a place to stay – I highly recommend you host a player or two – it’s a fun and rewarding experience.
HOST FAMILY: Brandon & Angela Gallet Family - Summer 2011
Last summer my family had the honor of hosting a young man from Georgia. Jordan McCoy plays college baseball for Nicholls State University. When we were first approached to house a player, I must say my wife and I were skeptical as to whether we would have time to manage another person in our home and making sure this young man felt welcomed. The event turned out to be a blessing for us and our children. We have four children ranging from 16 to 3 years old. Our 16 year old son is a baseball junkie, so the concept of housing a college player was perfect for us. Brennan and Jordan formed a brother bond that still is ongoing today. Jordan made many of his football games and talks to Brennan once a week just to check on him and his school activities. Our two daughters (12 and 10 years old) were excited at the fact of having another older brother to house, someone who would throw the softball with them, play the Wii games with, someone they could have fun with. Well, just as Jordan bonded with Brennan, he did with Emily and Anne-Catherine.  They enjoyed his company so much.  Our youngest boy, Brandt (2 years), enjoyed having someone else to wrestle with, build legos with, watch cartoons with.  By the end of Jordan’s stay, he actually had learned to say Jordan’s name very well.      

The day Jordan left for college it was like my wife sending off her son to school and she did not want him to leave.  Many tears were shed on his last night at our home, which had become his home.  God had placed a fantastic young man into our lives and for this we were grateful.  Hosting a college-age man was absolutely a positive influence for our family and we look forward to this summer and our newest son coming in. If you get the chance, please take the time and effort to house one of these kids. My wife believes now that we have five children and Jordan gave great joy to our summer and our home.
We were excited to be a part of the inaugural year of the Cane Cutters program and the opportunities it brought not only to our community but to our family as well.   We were more than willing to be a host family to not one, but two young men for the season. My husband, Roger, has played baseball his entire life, with a career that extended into college and continued until two years ago where at age 50 he finally retired from a recreational Adult Baseball league.  We welcomed these young men to our home. Roger was thrilled to have someone to throw the ball with and mentor! One of the players left early in the season, as they sometimes do.
        Troy Sutherland, who attends the University of Alabama, remains close to our hearts. We have two daughters and over the summer Troy quickly became the son we never had and a brother to our girls. We sincerely enjoyed Troy’s company and our conversations over meals and while just relaxing when time allowed. Troy was more than just a house guest.  He became a part of our family, even sharing in birthday celebrations. Our golden retriever, Bourbon, became his best friend and was as happy as were to have the company of this polite young man.   Troy was as outstanding in the class room as in the sport and in addition to playing ball, studied throughout the summer while taking an accounting class—which he passed with flying colors
        Other than baseball, Troy was able to get a taste of Louisiana life and experience a few things he had not ever done before like spending the day in the Atchafalaya Basin fishing and driving the boat. Roger taught him how to shoot skeet and he was awesome -as you can imagine- with his great eye hand coordination as a pitcher!   
     We attended every home game and had the opportunity to see Troy pitch and enjoy winning. His parents and brother came to visit from Alabama a few times during the season and we were fortunate to meet them and have them over to our home for a great Cajun meal! It was easy to see where Troy’s outstanding character came from- he was certainly a picture of his parents.   We have stayed in touch with Troy since this summer- complete with a little ribbing during the LSU-Alabama game. 
      Troy has said that playing with the Cane Cutters was a wonderful experience. We consider ourselves fortunate to have been his host family and have no doubt that this young man will enjoy success throughout life not only on the baseball field, but in whatever career he chooses to pursue. 


Last summer, after my redshirt junior year of 2011 at Nicholls State University, I was sent to the Texas Collegiate League to play for the Acadiana Cane Cutters. Because I did not know anybody personally in Lafayette I was going to have to sign up to live with a host family. I had heard of players living with host families during the summer throughout my college career and tried to avoid having to do it myself. When my coaches sent me to Lafayette I knew that I would need somebody to stay with. Even though I am a pretty outgoing person, I was at first a little apprehensive about moving into a home full of complete strangers.
When I first met my wonderful host parents Billy and Joyce Mobley at our first practice as a team, they were nothing but gracious, friendly, and inviting to me. It was such a relief to finally meet the people I would be living with throughout the summer. They introduced me to their daughter Ali who was at the time a senior in high school and going through the stressful college hunting experience. It was easy to find common ground with her having been through that same situation recently. After the practice, we drove back to their house and they were very welcoming as they showed me around the house. Within thirty minutes of dinner, we had hit it off and were talking about everything going on in our lives. With their openness and friendliness it was easy to forget my apprehension and start enjoying my summer with the Mobley family.
The relationship that I developed with the Mobley family last summer is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I feel as though they took me in as part of the family and the experience was beyond anything that I expected. They came to all my games and were my loudest supporters throughout the whole summer. I consider myself a big brother to Ali, and Mrs. Joyce even introduced me to my girlfriend who I am still with a year later.
I would absolutely encourage anybody to be a host family for this team. I can tell you first hand that it will be a wonderful rewarding experience and you will create lifelong bonds with the players that you host.