RACELAND Raceland football players are accustomed to doing heavy lifting in the weight room.
One day recently, they gladly put their muscles and energy to use for a hefty service project.
With Open Door School in Ironton relocating, teacher/intervention specialist Falecia Collier reached out to Raceland head coach Michael Salmons seeking manpower for the move.
“They asked if we could help,” said Salmons, whose team was in the middle of two-a-day workouts. “The school works with mentally and physically handicapped kids. That’s always been near and dear to mine and my family’s hearts. It’s good to give back.”
Open Door School has eight classrooms with students between ages 5 and 22.
About four dozen Rams players bused across the Ohio River to the old, three-story building on Lorain Street.
“We asked for about 25. They brought us 47 or 48,” said an appreciative Collier.
Even with the high numbers, the players had their work cut out on a hot day.
“There was a bunch of heavy stuff, but having so many guys made a big difference,” said senior wideout/defensive back Ethan Cox. “The people with the school all seemed happy. It felt good to help them with something they couldn’t do for themselves.”
Lineman Hayden Topping said the contents consisted mostly of lockers, desks, furniture and file cabinets.
“We developed a system,” said the 6-foot, 240-pounder. “We lifted them up onto a table to help the process. We did a little bit of engineering.”
The volume of transported materials amounted to “two semi-truck loads as full as you can get them,” according to Collier. “Those boys worked their tail ends off.
“Oh my gosh,” she continued. “No way without their help and support could we have been able to do it. We would still be packing boxes.”
The school’s new location is a one-floor plan at the Tri-State Industries building in Coal Grove.
Gunnur Lewis, another of Raceland’s senior leaders, called the five-hour move a long process but fun teamwork for the players.
“At the end of the day, we got the job done,” Lewis said. “Especially being for a specials needs school, it made my heart feel awesome.”
Collier came away impressed by the Raceland workforce.
“When you get a bunch of boys like that together, sometimes you have a lot of goofing off and horseplay,” she said. “That didn’t happen. They were very respectful as well. The boys moved a lot of heavy equipment and hundreds of boxes. It was very hot, 90-some degrees. They didn’t have to come and do that.”
Afterwards, the team was treated to pizza and cold drinks.
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