Both St. Catharine College and the University of the Cumberlands baseball teams go by the nickname of Patriots. And both teams really lived up to that sobriquet on Friday when they embarked on an ambitious effort to aid victims of the March 2nd tornado in Laurel County that killed three people in that community.
The city of East Bernstadt was especially devastated as entire neighborhoods were reportedly “wiped out”. The two Patriots’ teams worked there and in neighboring areas for most of Friday.
“We had two separate crews working in different spots to help clean up debris and get it out closer to the road so it could be picked up,” said St. Catharine head coach Luther Bramblett. “We worked in cleaning a garage that had been flattened and a mobile home that was blown to pieces.”
The word “humbling” was often mentioned by the St. Catharine seniors who took part in the clean-up. “I have never seen anything like it,” said Gregg Tingle. “I grew up in Baghdad (Shelby County) and we had a tornado there when I was young but nothing like this.”
“I really didn’t expect it to be that bad,” added Neal Straton of Louisville. “I have been involved in service projects before but not like this. And we didn’t see but just a fraction of the damage.”
Two other seniors are California natives and they had similar thoughts on the damage they witnessed. “We worry mostly about earthquakes there but none has done the damage that this tornado did,” said Luis Zeledon of Los Angeles.
“I called my mom after we were done working to tell her about it,” said Juan Moriel of San Diego. “We have had small earthquakes but no real damage, nothing like this. It really makes you appreciate what you have. And appreciate that we missed the worst of those storms that day.”
Many in the area predict it will be years before the Laurel County area recovers. “But we were able to get a lot done in that one day,” added Straton. “I am glad we were able to give some help.”
Spoken like a true Patriot.