Nov. 17, 2011
Auburn University baseball coach John Pawlowski, his assistant coaches and some 20 players turned out to help clean up storm debris in an Auburn neighborhood on Thursday, one day after a tornado tore through the city.
Pawlowski and his assistants sent a text to their players Thursday morning announcing plans for "Operation Clean Up." They gathered rakes, blowers and shovels and showed up at the heavily damaged home of Kirsten Perkins, an academic counselor in the Auburn Athletics Department who works with the baseball team.
The Perkins' home was covered in trees and debris when they arrived. A few hours later, it was all cleared away.
Pawlowski said his players wanted to help one of their own.
"Obviously, when the storm came through yesterday, we wanted to help out and do our part," Pawlowski said. "Dr. Perkins is instrumental in helping our student-athletes, and they wanted to give back."
After clearing trees and debris away from the Perkins' home, the players moved on to help other neighbors in the University Estates subdivision on Elkins Drive.
Bob Notbohn had three large trees crash into his deck and pool. He welcomed the help.
"These kids and all the volunteers we've had are a blessing," Notbohn said. "It's really something to see the way the community has come together."
Justin Bryant, a senior pitcher and infielder on the Auburn baseball team, decided he would volunteer after spending much of the last day cleaning up at his Wire Road trailer, which was also damaged by the storm.
"There is a lot of damage out here in this neighborhood, and they seem glad to have the help," Bryant said. "We came to help Dr. Perkins out, but when we saw these other houses that were damaged we just wanted to help them out, too."