Rebuilding After Disaster: Amory High School Receives 75FOR75 Sports Matter Grant
For hundreds of student-athletes at Amory High School in Mississippi, one night threatened their entire spring season.
On March 24, deadly tornadoes swept through Amory. One storm went right through the high school, seriously damaging the building and destroying all the athletic facilities. “The storm wiped out locker rooms, dugouts, fields, the football stadium and actually brought the press box down through the bleachers,” said US Air Force Veteran and DICK’S Tupelo Store Manager Tyler Roberts.
Tyler connected with Amory High School softball coach Jessica Seger, who gave him a tour of the tornado damage.
“When I heard the high school took a direct hit, it literally took me to my knees,” Jessica said.
The loss was not only devastating for the players and coaches, but the entire community that rallies around them.
“It’s small-town America,” Tyler said, “Athletics are what kids do here. It’s what these kids have.”
In the past, The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation has donated to The American Red Cross to help with natural disasters, but this time, Tyler and local Community Marketing Manager Amber Sawyer saw the opportunity to make an immediate impact. The tornado hit one week after The DICK’S Foundation announced its 75for75 Sports Matter Grant Program. Tyler and Amber reached out to the Foundation and were able to secure $75,000 for Amory High School.
In mid-April, less than one month after the tornado, The DICK’S Foundation presented Coach Seger with the grant. She shared the news with her team at the end of practice. The grant not only helped the school begin repairs to its sports facilities, but it also helped the entire city of Amory regain a sense of normalcy by saving the spring sports season. Amory High School students are currently practicing and playing at nearby facilities until theirs are rebuilt.
“Not even a tornado can stop us,” said Coach Seger. “We are Amory strong.”
Coach Seger also shared that the entire scenario has brought the team so much closer together because they realize that they’re fighting for something more than just trying to win softball games.
“I think the message here is a very hopeful and positive one,” Tyler said. “The recognition from DICK’S shows these small communities that they matter. This is something Amory will remember for decades to come, and to be a part of that is the best feeling in the world.”
To learn more and support the 75for75 Sports Matter Grant Program and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation, visit www.sportsmatter.org.
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