LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Little Holden Gothia first gathered attention around five years ago when he suffered from a severe case of child abuse at only five weeks old.
Now, Holden is doing well, but still has a long way to go.
The Lake Charles adult kickball league has been around for awhile, but it wasn't until recently that Holden Gothia joined the picture. All thanks to the man Holden calls "Sergeant Granger."
They make quite the pair: a tall former Army Sergeant and a small blonde five-year-old boy. Tut they do have something in common: they are each others heroes.
Holden's mother did the unthinkable when he was just five weeks old. She cut off his genitals and is now serving 99 years in a Texas prison. But Holden will live with side affects for the rest of his life. His aunt and uncle adopted him.
"We truly are blessed. Blessed to have him," said his aunt, Patches DeShazo. "Just to be apart of our lives everyday. We're the lucky ones."
Fred Granger first heard about Holden's story last year while serving in Iraq. He did what he knew how from so far away. He gathered soldiers to make a support video for Holden until he could do more when he returned home.
"This is the second time we got to hang out," said Granger. "He actually came and met me when I got back from Iraq in august. He came to Texas to meet me and welcome me home. He hasn't changed at all. He's not four anymore, he let me know that. He's five now."
Granger joined the Lake Charles adult kickball league, made it bigger, and is now responsible for the proceeds going to Holden. Holden attended the games Sunday for the first time.
"I went good," said Holden. "I was fast."
He even kicked a home run.
"I didn't get tagged," said Holden. "They thought it was a practice, so I didn't get tagged."
Area businesses donated items to Holden and the kickball league gave him their proceeds.
"It's always so overwhelming, in a good way," said DeShazo. "It's heartwarming. People we don't even know and they don't know us. They just come out in support of Holden and the Heroes for Holden foundation."
Granger's attachment to Holden is something he can't quite explain.
"He's a great kid," said Granger. "I love him. I think everybody that meets him will love him. He's a great inspiration."
And as of Sunday afternoon, Holden will serve as the ring bearer in Granger's wedding next year.
The items donated will be used in the Heroes for Holden benefit on June 10. There will be a live and silent auction at the event.
Last year it was at the Burton Coliseum, but this year it is in Pasadena, Texas. To find out more click here and select Heroes for Holden.