The lessons of community spirited coaches, the needs of a town in crisis, and the inherent goodness of a group of high school student-athletes helped many residents through the recent flooding disaster in Munster.
“These are good kids who went out and did something to help their fellow citizens in a time of crisis,” said Leroy Marsh, longtime Munster football coach. “They spent a lot of their time doing this and it’s a gratifying thing to see.”
The rain, which saturated the Region on the weekend of September 13-15, was an inconvenience to some, a burden to uncounted others, and a catastrophe to so many who saw years of personal treasures washed away.
It was a time when many of the residents of Munster were in need of a helping hand to keep the flood waters at bay and into the breach stepped the members of the Munster football team.
The days of that long week for the young people started early, ended late and were filled with the necessary labor that comes with helping a neighbor in need. Mustangs offensive lineman Dave Garcia said the work of loading and piling sandbags was hard but well worth the effort.
“So many of the people, once they saw us coming with the sandbags, were overjoyed,” Garcia, a senior said. “They were thankful, but this was something that we were glad to be able to do. Pretty much everyone on the team participated in some way. It was great to see the community come together and help each other our.
Senior linebacker Jerrett Tite joined in the relief effort and said he was glad to come to the aid of his fellow citizens.
“It was amazing, the reaction of the people when they saw us coming,” Tite said. “Some of them would tear up when they realized that we were coming there to help protect their houses. It felt good to be able to come in and help in a way that seemed to mean so much.”
“We had three or four kids here (on the team) that lost everything,” Marsh said. “The entire community was affected, but these kids came together to help. For four days straight they went out and did the hard work that was necessary to try and save these homes.”
It was a long day of labor. The bags weighed around 50 pounds and had to be picked up, loaded into trucks, and taken to where they were needed the most, to the worried people of a beleaguered town.
“Sure it was hard work but it was worth it,” Garcia said. It was one of those things that make you realize what is really important and that is a lot of satisfaction in helping out in a time of need.”
The team still held scheduled practices as it awaited its homecoming contest with Morton.
“I love football and it was good to have something like our game to concentrate on” Tite said.
“The coaches weren’t too hard on us (during practice),” Garcia said. “It was a long day but worth it.”
“Coach Marsh always emphasizes certain things,” Garcia continued. “Family, faith, and community are important to him and they are to all of us on the team to.” Tite agreed with his teammate.
“Coach Marsh believes in helping out others,” Tite said. “It’s something that he has passed along to us.”
The days of a community united resonated with something more positive on homecoming Friday when the Mustangs won a spirited comeback victory over Morton. Present at the game were many of the citizens who were assisted by the football team and many other countless athletes and students of the school.
“It’s a good feeling to help,” Tite said who estimated that he helped out on 20-25 houses.
“There may come a time when I need help with something,” Garcia said. “It’s a good feeling to know that I live somewhere where people will help out.”