Recently, some of our baseball team members were involved in sharing hope through hard work down in the hurricane devastated areas of Texas. Following is an article written by CofO student Grayson Ketron that demonstrates C of O Athletics are about more than just playing a sport. Our coaches and athletes truly care about those around them who are in need and take time from their busy schedules to step out of their comfort zone and serve others.
Nearly six and a half weeks ago hurricane Harvey made landfall in Texas leaving thousands of homes flooded and killing 77 people. Despite the overwhelming scale of destruction and the ten hour drive separating CofO from the storm's path, a small group of students decided to take action.
CofO junior Cole Oliver had the idea to help in disaster relief efforts in Texas almost as soon as the floodwaters receded. He shared his conviction to serve with CofO senior and Texas native Wyatt Saltarelli (CofO Baseball). Together Wyatt and Cole, along with other members of FCA leadership team, began raising money and planning the logistics of the trip. The families of CofO junior Dylan Heitz (CofO Baseball) and Cole Oliver, as well as CofO Head Baseball Coach Neale Richardson made donations for food and gas, and Christian Ministries provided the van.
After a few weeks of planning and fund raising, the idea to help those affected by the hurricane finally developed into a reality. The crew of eleven students and one sponsor, Mr. Espinosa, piled into a fifteen-passenger van in the late afternoon of Friday, October 6th and began the long journey south. After nearly twelve hours of travel, the team arrived at Wyatt Saltarelli's home in Montgomery, Texas for an hour nap. The team the pressed on another hour across the city of Houston to meet up with the organization Eight Days of Hope.
The first work site Saturday morning offered its challenges. The team found themselves removing personal possessions from an elderly woman's home. The woman had lived there for 50 years and after having five feet of water in her house, everything inside was a total loss. All of her possessions were still saturated form the hurricane six weeks before and needed to be removed from the house and placed on the curb.
After eating lunch, the team moved to another site across town. Upon arrival, the home owner showed one room of her home that needed to have all the mildewed furniture removed and the carpet pulled out. The team also noticed that her yard needed to be mowed, so they tracked down a neighbor's lawnmower and knocked it all out. She was thrilled to have the team go above what she requested to serve her. The team crashed hard Saturday night and prepared for the long drive home on Sunday.
So, why would we do all this dirty work on almost no sleep only to turn around and drive eleven hours back? Why give up a weekend with family or studying to splash around in someone else's mess? We did it because we have built our hope in the fact that Jesus came and splashed around in our mess for us. He said to love your neighbor. Not just the neighbor down the street, but anyone who calls earth home. That's why we did what we did.