Ben Lippen football coach Derek White is used to his players getting dirty on the field.
For the past two days, the Ben Lippen athletes have been getting dirty for a good cause as they and members of F3 (Fitness, Fellowship and Faith) of Columbia helped move furniture, rip out flooring, clean up and deliver meals to houses affected by flooding throughout the Midlands.
“We started in our neighborhood and are just going to go where we can help,” White said. “We can’t practice so we are willing to help and do whatever.”
White said he and his wife, who live near the Garners Ferry area, had to evacuate their house Sunday after water came close to the steps of the home. They were able to return and didn’t have much damage, and that’s when they decided to go and help others.
Ben Lippen’s athletes were just one of more than a dozen of schools from the Midlands doing their part in helping out flood victims. Hammond football coach Erik Kimrey had his players helping to move people out of their houses the past two days.
One of the houses that Hammond players helped was Heathwood Hall basketball coach and athletic director Jeff Whalen.
Whalen and his wife Karen’s house near Gills Creek had several feet of water and their cars were flooded and damaged. Friends of the Whalens set up a gofundme account at https://www.gofundme.com/jm5rj6ns. So far, $15,095 has been raised as of Wednesday afternoon.
Students and athletes at Chapin, Richland Northeast and Dreher high schools held food drives Wednesday for families in need, and Ridge View is holding one Thursday from 9 a.m. to noon.
“We put the word out and our coaching, our band and athletic staff came together,” Chapin principal Akil Ross said. “This is something for our students to get out of the house and do something constructive. There are lessons we teach in school and ones we teach in life. And when the community needs you can ante up and help out.”
A.C. Flora, Lower Richland, RNE and White Knoll high schools were used as shelters when residents had to evacuate and many of their students and athletes helped there and at other distribution centers throughout the area.
Members of the South Carolina men’s and women’s basketball teams were at A.C. Flora helping.
White Knoll baseball coach Charles Assey and members of the baseball team helped at the school’s shelter Tuesday. They ares looking for more opportunities like that.
“If there is a chance to do something over the next few weeks or months, we are going to do it because the clean up is just beginning,” Assey said. “It is a good life example for kids and shows them there are things more important in life than sports.”