As the old adage says, sometimes it takes a village — or in the case of Titusville, it takes a football team.
Hurricane Matthew scraped the coast of Brevard County early Friday morning leaving behind a flurry of debris, downed trees and powerless homes. But as residents emerged from their houses or returned from evacuations, many grabbed hold of the situation as a chance to pay it forward. This was the case for five Titusville High School football players who went door to door in the Sherwood Estates neighborhood in North Brevard helping residents pick up debris and restore their homes.
Tri-Marea Charles, Michael Squires, Christopher Squires, Moses Walters and Gibran Williams, all football players at THS, took it upon themselves to use their brawn for goodwill. The power team of five started by helping a neighbor they knew had Parkinson’s disease, but ended up cleaning almost a block’s worth of homes, and are still hard at work days later.
“The group of five went house to house. The neighbors stopped by our house to tell us how awesome the boys were,” said Clara Gill-Squires, who is mom to two of the players. “We live in an area of Sherwood that has older residents that could not do some of the larger part of the jobs at all. The boys were a great help to them.”
Gill-Squires said her husband, Chris Squires, is an assistant coach for the JV team and the boys were all staying with her at their home in Sherwood to ride out the storm. Some of the teens involved were JV players, others were varsity.
But when the power went out and remained out the next day, the teens used the free time for good.
“We walked down the street and saw a lot of issues,” said Michael Squires, 14.
They checked on a neighbor’s home and got to work, a good deed for a man who had just undergone surgery a month prior. And once they started, people noticed. Many asked for help.
“We couldn’t even make it down the street without everyone asking us for help,” said Williams, 16.
And since the power was out and their cellphones were quickly dying, “we decided we’d just keep going with it,” said Christopher Squires, 14.
Not to mention, “we didn’t see sun in three days,” added Walters,15, happy to be outside after being cooped up in a house with 10 others during the storm.
The teens battled ants, mosquitoes and rising temperatures as they hauled giant pieces of a tree that had fallen on an elderly couple’s home. Chris Squires used a chainsaw to cut it away from the home as the boys carried off the pieces. This was just another example of the work they did to pass the time and help out those who could not help themselves. The team also removed fences and repaired awnings outside homes.
“Two old men trying to move that stuff? Are you kidding?” said Art Carlson, in regard to the tree the teens removed. “There’s no way we could’ve done that.”
By Saturday evening, the team was hungry and blistered, but their spirits were high.
“I feel pretty good about it,” said Williams. “Everyone’s thanking us. I feel proud that we’re just helping out.”