Ole Miss Football Players Give Back During Spring Break
March 30, 2017
In past years, players and coaches have done mission work in Panama and Haiti, and this time a group of Rebels traveled a bit closer to home to help restore homes of flood victims in the Mississippi Delta.
Fannie Fountain's home was under three feet of water for quite some time after the devastating floods in Drew, Mississippi, last March. Floyd Fedrick's home also sustained severe water damage.
Although the flooding was more than a year ago, Fountain still hadn't returned to her own house until recently when the Delta Grace mission organization helped replace old drywall and re-wired her electricity. After that, members of the Mississippi Delta Community College football team began to remove the old roof.
"Our role was to put the shingles on the roof," said FCA Director of Character Development Sammie Smith, who led the group of Rebel volunteers that included Jared Farlow, Marquis Haynes, Eli Johnson, Sam Johnson, Dawson Knox, Bryce Mathews, Tayler Polk, Jack Propst, Josh Ricketts, Jordan Sims and Chandler Tuitt.
Unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative on the day the Rebels arrived in Drew. Rain kept the roof work to a minimum, but players still gave it their best shot.
"I did some things I was afraid to do like get on top of the roof because I'm scared of heights," said Haynes, one of the nation's most feared rushers coming off the edge to sack quarterbacks. "It was only to help her. She was in need."
"We were a little disappointed because these guys were looking forward to doing the roof work and bless those families," Smith said. "God had other plans for us, so we went in and did some painting and cleaned up some debris with shingles and nails and other things. It was a great time of fellowship, and we really enjoyed the opportunity to bless her however we could."
The opportunity to help others in need is not lost on the Ole Miss players.
"Just realizing how blessed we are to have opportunities to reach out to others and seeing the living conditions of some people, it's really eye opening," said Sims, a junior offensive guard. "It was great to be able to spend time with my brothers and to just give a small portion of our free time to help someone in need, to make their lives a little bit easier."
"I take it as an opportunity to meet people and to make them happy knowing there are other people out there willing to help them when they're in need and don't have anything," Haynes added.
Head coach Hugh Freeze has encouraged his players to reach back to local and foreign communities throughout his tenure at Ole Miss. He prioritizes helping the needy in his own life specifically through the Freeze Foundation. Established in 2014 by Hugh and Jill Freeze, their foundation seeks to improve the quality of life for orphans and needy children around the world.
"Credit to Coach Freeze to make it possible for us to even get to do that," Smith said. "My prayer was that we would have some guys that would set aside a little time, just one day, to be able to go and be a blessing and serve others. Those guys did that. They stepped up and committed to going and never wavered."
Since the Rebels were there, the Mississippi Delta Community College football players were able to finish up the roofs at both Fountain and Fedrick's homes.
In addition to their trip to the Delta, Ole Miss football players have recently participated in Reading with the Rebels, The Marks Project, Adopt-A-Basket (Thanksgiving) and the Rebelthon.
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