Lifestyle & Human Interest

High School Football Team Shows Up at Paralyzed Man's Home To Clean Up Yard Damaged by Storm


When hurricanes and storms move toward land, people race to get out of their way. Those directly in the storm’s path relocate to safer places, and those on the edges batten down the hatches and hold tight until the worst has passed.

For one community in Iowa, Aug. 10 brought a derecho that wreaked havoc and left homeowners to pick up the pieces once the skies cleared.

Ray Drake of Des Moines had four trees on his property come down. He also lost at least part of a privacy fence — but was unable to join as others ventured out in the following days and started hauling off debris.

Since 1989, Drake has been paralyzed, leaving his sisters to handle his care.

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When his sister Janice saw the damage on Drake’s property, she knew they’d need some help.

It was Doug Applegate, one of Drake’s old high school friends, who really got things moving after Janice contacted him and he saw the extent of the work that would be needed.

“I saw some of the pictures and thought, ‘You need more than just one chainsaw, Janice,'” he told KCCI-TV.

So, he turned to a nearby group of young men: the Roosevelt High School football team.

The student-athletes showed up, donned gloves and started rolling away sections of the trees as they were cut up.

Such work from a business could have easily cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but the team was done in two hours.

“That’s just really what people in Iowa do, is we’re all friendly and help each other out,” Jackson Neary, one of the students, told WCCI.

The team filed into the home to meet Drake, and he was incredibly grateful for their help.

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“I’m blessed,” he said. “I’m blessed.”

Janice thanked the boys, tearing up as she stood next to her brother.

Readers have been encouraged by these young men’s actions, finding their generosity and kindness to be just the remedy our world needs.

“I know this family appreciated your help,” one wrote on KCCI reporter Eric Hanson’s share of the story. “Kindness is the understanding that we all struggle sometimes and can use a hand up, well done young ones blessings to you as you go on to your next adventures.”

“It’s been nice to see all the sports teams pitching in to help clean up in all the towns that were hit hard across the state,” another added.

“It’s probably not what they had in mind for ‘conditioning’ but I’ll bet their hearts feel good for all they are doing. Great job to all the teams involved. “

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