High School Football Team Cleans Paralyzed Man’s Yard Destroyed by Derecho Storm

As the Midwest does what it can to clean up the destruction left by an unexpected derecho storm that hit in August, people within the community have really come together to help one another out. In Des Moines, Iowa, as its residents are cleaning up their city, a high school football team came in to help save the day, using their young strength to help out someone who really appreciated their help.

Ray Drake’s home was severely damaged by the derecho, with “four trees down total and it destroyed his privacy fence,” his sister Janice Love told WISN. Janice is Ray’s caretaker because Ray is a paralyzed man. Ready to take on the work of cleaning up the damages herself, she reached out to one of Ray’s old high school friends to borrow his chainsaw. She was ready to saw down the trees that took up the man’s yard.

But when Ray’s friend, Doug Applegate, saw the pictures of the damages, he told WISN that he immediately thought, “…you need more than just one chainsaw, Janice.” So what he did instead is brought 30 members of the Roosevelt High School football team, the Rough Riders. Two and a half hours later, the teenage boys cleared the yard of the trees, some with diameters more than 24 inches. They also repaired Ray’s privacy fence.

Jackson Neary, a senior on the Rough Riders team told WISN, “That’s just really what people in Iowa do, we help each other out.”

Understanding how countless Iowans have had to rebuild their lives from the destruction the derecho causes, Ray’s sister thanked the young men with tears in her eyes, saying, “We appreciate all your guys’ help. We really do, because I didn’t know how we were going to do this. So I thank you guys from the bottom of my heart,” and with Ray showing some school spirit with a soft, “Go, Rough Riders!”

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