The football team at Pine Forest and the baseball team at Gray’s Creek both saw damage done to their respective athletic fields during the recent visit of Hurricane Floyd to Cumberland County.
But that didn’t prevent players from both teams reaching out to others in the community who had been harder hit by the storm than they were.
At Pine Forest, coach Bill Sochovka was greeted to the site of a large sinkhole that developed near the goal line on one end of the field at Harold K. Warren Stadium.
But Sochovka got even more disturbing news from his defensive coordinator, Jeff Houghton, who lives in the Spring Lake area. Houghton shared reports with Sochovka about the devastation caused around Spring Lake by the flooding that Hurricane Florence caused.
“We do a lot for the north side of town,’’ Sochovka said. But he added that there are a lot of current Pine Forest football players as well as alumni who are in the Spring Lake area, so he felt it was important to lend a hand there as well.
The Saturday after the storm passed, the Trojan football team practiced in the morning, then a dozen players went to Spring Lake, specifically to the area off Vass Road, to help out in neighborhoods that were flooded by the storm.
“They helped move stuff out of seven houses,’’ Sochovka said. “They were there from about 10 in the morning until four in the afternoon. What would have taken those folks days to do they did in a few hours.’’
Sochovka also helped out at the shelter that was opened at the Pine Forest gym for people displaced by the storm. He worked with Red Cross volunteers to show them around the building and make them aware of the various facilities available in the gym.
Sochovka said disaster relief was a new experience for many in the Trojan family. “You can sit and watch on TV, or you can do it in your community and be effective,’’ he said.
Gray’s Creek baseball coach Jeff Nance saw minor damage to his field as some fences were blown down, signs knocked off the scoreboard and shingles blown from the dugout.
But he also saw a need to help out in the Gray’s Creek community when a minister friend at an outreach called Balm of Gilead asked him for some assistance.
“It’s a community outreach center that gives food and water to people, not just during disasters but anytime,’’ Nance said. The head of the ministry called and said she had a large supply of water coming in for disaster relief and needed help unloading it.
Nance sent out an appeal to his baseball team and about half of them showed up to unload the water and help prepare food bundles for delivery to people who had been hit hardest by the storm.
“This gives them the opportunity to see how fortunate most of them are,’’ Nance said. “It brings out the best in them and the best in what we’re trying to teach them, teamwork.”