Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tornado Relief Effort

     I didn't know what to expect when we set out to provide tornado relief in Lancaster, TX... All i knew is that I wanted to help.  Texas Tech athletics and the Lubbock community came together with an effort to provide supplies and volunteers to aid in the recovery.  Lubbock provided two eighteen wheelers full of food, water, dog food, cleaning supplies, etc.  This added up to 70,000 pounds of supplies that needed to be taken to the families in need.  That is where we came in!

     My teammates and I started our Saturday waking up at 5:30am.  I packed my bag and got on the bus to head out.  We had around 30 athletes on the bus as well as some coaches and media personnel.  We set off along with the two supply trucks at 6am headed to Lancaster.  We made a quick pit stop by the Slaton Bakery where we received our own care package of delicious donuts!  After a lot of uncomfortable bus sleeping and snoring battles, we had made it to Lancaster. We threw down some pizza on the bus real fast for lunch and headed to Lancaster High School where they have been receiving supplies.  When we got there they had enough immediate supplies at that current location, but quickly directed us to a nearby warehouse where they would store and later distribute the supplies.

     The trucks pulled up to the warehouse, the bus was unloaded, and the work began! The mountain of supplies in the trucks were slowly picked away by us and supply lines were quickly formed. Big heavy packages of water, food, and other supplies were being tossed along the lines... and it quickly turned into a competition like it always does between us players.  We had two different lines feeding supplies out of the truck and each was trying to be the fastest. This became a workout as the supplies seemed to be endless and the packages being thrown and unloaded faster and faster.  Everyone made a big deal if someone dropped something, and a couple of waters and a broken bag of dog food inevitably ended up on the floor. After being tired and drenched with sweat, we had finally completed one truck! As we took a break, the mayor of Lancaster thanked us for our effort and supplies. We aren't here for the thank yous, but it does feel good to know that what you are doing is helping someone in need.  Next, we tackled the second truck and unloaded all the supplies into the warehouse.  It was a very good experience to see all the volunteers, firemen, red cross, players, coaches, and other Tech members all working together to get this accomplished. Moving 70,000 pounds of supplies from Lubbock to Lancaster is no easy task...but we did it!

     We then went to help clean up at the worst hit part of town.  We helped for the rest of our time there moving debris from around the house of a resident to the front of the yard to be picked up on Monday.  Seeing the damage to the area made it real, but seeing the people and families who were affected by this tornado up close made it even more personal and touching.  One resident was just sitting in his damaged car in front of what used to be his home just staring at it.  Another family was sitting under their porch which was the only part that remained standing of their whole house.  I couldn't even begin to imagine how their lives have been torn apart and now they are just left with scattered memories of the remains of their house that they have to try and put back together.  This experience has definitely made me thankful for everything I have and I thank God for all of my blessings.  I'm proud of Lubbock and Texas Tech for stepping up and taking action.  Thanks for all of the supplies and support that have gone out to Lancaster, and keep the affected families in your prayers!

-Student of the Game

Pictures I took...Slideshow: (click here for full-screen)

Videos from YouTube:


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