Tech athletes and coaches could have been practicing on the field, on the court or in the weight room but instead they spent Wednesday giving back to the community.
Dozens of athletes from at least five Tech teams spread throughout Putnam County this week volunteering their time and muscle to help tornado victims.
“People take life for granted every day and things like this can just happen out of nowhere,
Jr. Clay, a guard for the basketball team, said. “You can wake up and the roof over your house could be gone. I think that’s a big part of Cookeville. It’s a lot about community.”
Other members of the basketball team helped out by providing extra hands at the Cookeville Community Center.
Assistant coach Andre Bell said he was glad campus closed so students had the opportunity to help the community.
“Oldham shows why he’s a great leader,” Andre Bell, assistant coach said about classes being cancelled Wednesday and Thursday. “It puts us in a position to serve and our basketball team and program is built on serving others. It takes a village.”
The football team and coaching staff unloaded trucks of supplies at Double Springs Church of Christ in Baxter and helped clean up debris around eight of the homes in the Prosperity Point subdivision Wednesday morning.
“We were just trying to lend a hand and give back to the community who constantly support us,” defensive back Marcus McMeans said. “We just felt that our assistance could be a small token of gratitude for what the surrounding community has done for Tennessee Tech athletics and the university as a whole.
Dewayne Alexander, head football coach said the coaches strive to develop servant leadership in their players.
“The Cookeville Upper Cumberland community is special and we are humbled to give back. Today was emotional, but rewarding. I am proud of our staff and team and honored to represent TTU,” he said.
Coaches and players on the volleyball team dedicated their time to picking up debris around Putnam County.
“The people in Cookeville are what makes this place special,” Jeannette Waldo, head volleyball coach said. “Hearing that some people are in need, means that we need to rise up and give back. Our team coming together for such a powerful cause helps unite us.
Soccer coach Steve Springthorpe said team members began volunteering at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.
“Really, the three hours we worked there was mostly just picking up debris and doing whatever the homeowner needed so they could salvage anything they could,” he said.
Golden Girls member Kayla Anderson said she and other dance team members distributed food and water to volunteers Wednesday.
“It was honestly heartbreaking to see all of the houses crumbled to the ground. All that was left of one house was just a sofa,” she said. “It was so sad, but was also very emotional seeing everyone that came out and was willing to help.”