Wednesday’s storms roared through Pulaski, and with it, downed trees and structures caused the need for cleanup on Thursday. Reports of downed trees and damages came in throughout the night from all around Pulaski. After a large tree fell in the yard of Pulaski resident Dennis Bryant, he attempted to clear it away, but sadly found out his chainsaw would not start.
“I did not sleep all night” said Bryant. “I was trying to figure out how I was going to get this mess cleaned up.”
His answer came Thursday morning. Dennis said he heard noises in his front yard, and was shocked to see a “cavalry” of teens and adults going to work.
“I saw about 12 to 15 young men trying to break up the pieces of the tree with their hands” said Bryant. “They said coach said they should try to help out, so they are going to everything they can to help.”
The young men were members of the Pulaski Football team. The boys were supposed to be doing a summer workout for the “Build a Better Raider” summer strength and conditioning program, but were advised to do a different type of workout that morning.
“They went to lift, but the coach told them people in town need your help more than we need you to lift” Bryant said. “I have never seen a response and group come together like these people did in Pulaski. It was overwhelming” Bryant said, it really was.”
That was just one of the groups in the community that were helping that morning. Members of the Tri-County Fire Department showed up with chainsaws to help Bryant rid his yard of the downed tree.
Members of the Pulaski Cross Country Team also suspended summer running to help out, clearing debris at the Pulaski Polka Days grounds and Pulaski Community Middle School.
Pulaski High School Athletic Director Janel Batten contacted Football Coach Jared Marsh and Cross Country Coach Kim Noe after scouting out debris at Suputo Stadium, and asked the coaches to have the kids help with clean-up. The athletes arrived early, ready to start.
“It just goes to show the caliber of Pulaski High School athletes” said Batten. “They showed up with no questions asked. They came with work gloves and were ready by 6:30 in the morning” Batten said.
For Bryant, it was an experience that he said he will never forget. Bryant said within an hour, the tree was cut up, the debris was cleared, the boys stacked smaller pieces next to his house for firewood, and went on their way to another home.
“It was like they were on a mission” Bryant stated. “It gives you faith not only in living in a small town, but in the young people in today and for the coach to be thoughtful enough to do what he did, it was spectacular, it really was” Bryant said.
While the athletes asked for nothing in return, Dennis said they just earned a new fan and support system.
“I told them I will see you guys all fall” Bryant told the boys. “I am definitely a Pulaski Football Fan, that’s for sure.”
Pulaski summer school students also used the day to learn about community service and helping others in need by clearing debris at the Middle School and Glenbrook Elementary School.