By Matthew Crump and Chris McGee
Eastern’s men’s golf team joined up with more than 1,000 other volunteers on Aug. 25 to help restore the homes of storm victims that had been damaged last spring. The team was part of Impact Kentucky: Hope Reigns, which was an organized effort to restore homes damaged by storms in eight different counties in Kentucky. The men’s golf team helped out in Campton, Ky.
The team, together with head coach Pat Stephens and team alum Brian Fister, left around 6:20 a.m. to head to Campton. They met up with the Impact Kentucky leaders at the Campton United Methodist Church, where they were fed and split into groups of three or four. The student-athletes worked on various tasks, such as repairing leaks in roofs, replacing underpinning of mobile homes and replacing windows.
“Me and my buddies from the golf team, Andrew Yeast and Daniel DeLuca, we went to a site where hail knocked out a back window and the underpinning,” said senior Zack Butler. “We redid the whole backside of the underpinning.”
The team took a short break for lunch and then worked until 4:30 p.m.
“It was a long day for us,” said freshman Kyle Congleton. “On the way home I definitely realized how fortunate some of us are. A lot of times we take things for granted. If there was anything I took out of it, it definitely makes me appreciate what my family’s done for me, and I’m sure that every guy would say the same.”
The team first found out about the volunteer opportunity when Coach Stephens heard about it from his church. Impact Kentucky: Hope Reigns was sponsored by the Kentucky Annual Conference, the Red Bird Missionary Conference and United Methodist Communications.
“I go to the Methodist church here in Richmond, which is where I heard about it,” Coach Stephens said. “It sounded like a good opportunity for the team to do some good.”
Butler said he felt volunteering was a positive experience for him.
“I feel like I want to do it another time. Like, more in the future,” Butler said. “I went down there, and it was amazing how much damage had been caused. You don’t always think about that kind of stuff. Volunteering really makes you feel good after doing it, and it really is the right thing to do.”
Student-athletes from various sports teams recently gave back to the community that has given so much support to them.
Members of the Eastern women’s basketball, track and field and dance team participated in the service event.
Raechele Gray, women’s basketball, Shauna Hooper, track and field and Sydney Darby, dance team, were a few of the athletes who participated in Tracks for Packs on Aug. 29.
The program benefits the Madison County Backpack program which provides more than 1,300 backpacks full of food, which go home with the children over the weekend and provides nourishment when they aren’t in school.
Although this was each athlete’s first time participating in the event, none of the teams discounted the importance of giving back to the community.
“As much as the community comes out and supports us, I believe it’s almost our duty to give back,” Gray said.
The program also provides backpacks filled with school supplies to Madison County area schools.
Darby also said this program supports more than just Richmond.
“This helps us to not only support our community but our school,” Darby said.