April 28, 2007
Enterprise, Ala. -
Fifty-two Auburn student-athletes spent all day Saturday demolishing two houses devastated by the Mar. 1 tornado, one of which was located 100-yards away from the third hall at Enterprise High School where eight students lost their lives.
"Watching the TV broadcast after the tornado, I knew I wanted to do something to help in Enterprise," sophomore Summer Ragsdale said. "Getting on the bus this morning and seeing so many student-athletes, it is just awesome. One bus load today is going to accomplish a lot."
The group also included the entire Auburn women's basketball coaching staff and representatives from the athletic department.
"We were at the SEC Tournament when the tornado hit and were very aware of what was going on," Auburn head coach Nell Fortner said. "We knew right away that we wanted to do something to help this community. We waited until a trip was organized and were eager to spend today helping these two families. Coming to Enterprise and seeing the destruction that the tornado caused really opened all our eyes."
The group, equipped with protective goggles and gloves, split to cover both houses. With sledgehammers and wheelbarrows in hand the Tiger student-athletes jumped right in, breaking down what was left at the two sites.
Auburn director of community relations and spirit Latisha Durroh spent the past two months organizing the trip along with Sydney Hoffman, a community relations representative from the Governor's office.
"The athletes and athletic staff are doing much more than clearing debris from two destroyed homes," Gov. Bob Riley said. "They are literally clearing the way so that these families can rebuild their homes and their lives."