Sometimes I'm too busy to click a link. Here it is for those in a hurry. Thanks WB for sharing it. I coached one of these kids when he was in 7th grade and I gotta say my shirt buttons are busting loose I'm so proud of him. I'm proud of all of them. Some of the things they said about doing the right thing and helping others being important to them has got me darn emotional. I'm so proud to see kids showing character like this. I think a story like this should be something that would make us believe that the younger generation will be just fine when they take over.
WEST COLUMBIA - The countywide evacuation that preceded Hurricane Ike's devastating arrival scattered members of the Columbia Roughnecks football team across Texas and even out of the state. Most returned home with family early last week to deal with their own aftermath from the strong Category 2 storm.
But for many of the players, coming home wasn't only about cleaning up their own mess and getting back on the football field - it was about helping the community.
"We all were hit by this," Columbia director of athletics and head football coach Leland Surovik said. "When I came back I started picking up my yard but then stopped and helped some neighbors that were worse off, or they just couldn't get it done. Some people are elderly and can't do it. That's when the idea of getting some of the kids together to help came."
Early last week Columbia High School began making ice for the residents of West Columbia and Brazoria. After getting the idea to help even more, Surovik was given the OK from West Columbia Mayor Laurie B. Kincannon and Brazoria Mayor Ken Corley and received a list of addresses of residents in need.
The Roughnecks hit the road last Thursday and Saturday. On the first day of cleanup, 27 players cleared yards of fallen trees, limbs and other debris. After Columbia's football game Friday night, 18 players were back at work Saturday doing more of the same.
Senior Chad Ledbetter was one of the helping Roughnecks. He returned home with family on Sept. 15 after a stressful evacuation and was happy to join his teammates even if it was off the football field.
"A lot of people just can't do all that clean-up," Ledbetter said. "We just tried to help any way that we could. Sometimes on our way to an address we'd see somebody that needed a little help and we stopped. It was about doing a good thing for these people."
Junior Gray Raley went all the way to Louisiana to dodge the storm. He came home and was glad to see his teammates and friends.
"It was great thing for us to do," Raley said. "It was good to get back together with our minds off of football for a while. Getting to see the smile on their face when we helped, that was worth it."
Taylor Lane and family boarded up their home and rode Ike out. After cleaning up the area around his home, the senior waited for the rest of the team to come back to Columbia.
"It was like a big reunion when everybody started coming back," Lane said. "We're like a family. I already knew how much of a hassle it was to clean up your own yard and I couldn't imagine some of the older people that were alone and had no help at all being able to do it. It was something we needed to do."
Logan Hernandez headed to Austin when the storm came. The Columbia junior, who lives in Lake Jackson, was more than willing to pitch in where he could.
"I'm a person that believes doing good for another will come back to you," Hernandez said. "I just feel like it was the right thing to do to help the community. They're out there helping us on Friday nights."
Christian Gerbich went almost 400 miles to Camp Wood, but even there he couldn't stay away from football long. He and his father, Columbia secondary coach Chris Gerbich, watched a Class 1A a high school football game Sept. 12 before heading home.
"I thought it was a great time helping out," the younger Gerbich said. "We just piled in our trucks and helped as much as we could. People were really excited to see us and very appreciative of all the help. I can't imagine how hard some people had it without any help."
Junior Todd Hunt spend a lot of time cleaning the 5 acres his family lives on. Trees were blown over on power lines at his home and there was a lot of debris, but he made sure to make time to help his neighbors.
"I just wanted to do the right thing," Hunt said. "You do onto others as you'd like them onto to you. You help and cleanup. It felt good to see their smiles."
The players wanted to do the right thing and aid a community that's given so much to the football team.
"We get a lot of support from the people here, our fans, and this was a chance to give something back," Ledbetter said. "It was something we could do and help a lot of people at the same time."
There's still plenty of rebuilding to do, but because of the Columbia football team there's a little less work left and a lot of people better off today.
"I'm very proud of these guys and what they've done," Surovik said. "Living in a small community, we ask so much of their support with fundraisers and help to give special things to these students. This was an opportunity to do something good and give something back.
"We wanted to help but also wanted to say thank you for all the support."