The stickers say, “Stay Strong 850.”
Chiles High School (Tallahassee, Fl.) football head coach Kevin Pettis dropped them off with all five Leon County public school football teams to place the decals on the backs of their football helmets.
Hurricane Michael literally hit close to home for Pettis, who is from devastated Panama City. He lost an uncle during the storm. He’s hurting like so many others.
“I wanted us to avoid the funeral effect of hurricane relief,” Pettis said. “After a funeral, you move on and life goes on as usual. That’s the worst that can happen. I didn’t want us to just help for a week and then be done with it. Hopefully, this can serve as a reminder to keep helping the people affected by the storm.”
Prior to Hurricane Michael, Chiles’ football players were out at Tekesta Park in Killearn Lakes Plantation, helping bag sand for people’s homes.
After the hurricane, Pettis has promoted several different relief efforts. Monday’s game against Gadsden County raised supplies for that county. Friday night’s game against Leon raised necessary items for Gulf County.
He’s also taken players to Alpha, Bay County, Wewahitchka, and Mexico Beach.
“They need everything,” Pettis said. “They need water. They’re slowly getting power back which is huge. Calhoun County still doesn’t have electricity. Wewahitchka, part of its field house fell in. We’ve been doing a pass-the-bucket to help things they’ve lost.”
This week, Maclay (Tallahassee, Fl.) Upper School’s 9-0 football team took a trip to Wewahitchka to help its campus clean-up, which was in addition to the Marauders gathering donations of food, water, toiletries, and other necessities.
“It was an eye-opener,” senior offensive lineman Eljin Rhymes said. “Maclay is a vast campus with a lot of trees, and Wewa was a lot like that. They had trees come down from the storm.
“We got to know their guys, help chop up wood, and do as much as we could for them in the little time we could. It was great to help out those that have been affected by the storm.”