BH, Canadian football teams put service above self

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Although the atmosphere across the state of Texas was filled with the return of Friday Night Lights recently, one local team stopped to give back to needy members of its community.

The Brook Hill Guard varsity football team, under the direction of second –year head coach Scott Ryle, took part in packaging food for needy school-aged children Saturday, Sept. 2, at the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler.

“As a team, we’re focused on giving back to others,” said Ryle. “Anytime we have an opportunity to help mold these young men and work together to fulfill a cause that’s even greater than us individually and as a football program, we want to take part and help out those in our community who need help.”

Helping out the Brook Hill Guard this year in its service project as part of the Tyler Ford/Brook Hill American Warrior Bowl Weekend were the players and coaches of the Royal Imperial Collegiate High School Knights of St. Catharine’s, Ontario, Canada, the Guard’s opponent for the third annual American Warrior Bowl football game to kick-off the 2017 football season.

“By participating in a service project like this, we’re teaching the athletes that there are things in life that are bigger than the sport of football,” said Ryle. “This helps to teach our players about humility and serving others, which is one of the core values we have at Brook Hill. We’re a Christian school so we need to have that focus on serving others like Christ did. It’s great to see everyone come together to work on this project; they’re football players, but they’re also young men, and hopefully we can help raise them as future men of God and high character.”

Ryle also said the service project was a great project to undertake for his team because of what was taking place near Houston, Galveston, and Beaumont, as several items being packed by the two teams at the East Texas Food Bank were destined to be delivered to food banks in parts of the state affected by Hurricane Harvey.

“This project did hit really close to home for us,” said Ryle. “I know that the East Texas Food Bank is sending food and water to victims of the hurricane, and they’ve even received food that would normally go to food banks down there, but just couldn’t make it there because of the storm. We’ve talked about how we can support the victims. We play two Houston-area schools this year and I’ve reached out to talk to them about ways we can help; right now, they’re just trying to figure things out because they had to start school late due to the flooding. It’s close to home because we’re just outside of the area that was affected.”

While packaging the meals into large plastic bags and then into boxes on pallets, Ryle said the food boxed up was designed to provide nourishing meals for students who may only get their hot meals during school hours.

Joe Hagins, coach of the Royal Imperial Collegiate Knights, said the experience of having his team work with the Guard of Brook Hill centered around making a difference in another person’s life.

“It’s great to be a part of a project like this,” said Hagins. “We’ve all seen about what’s on the news with the hurricane and everything, so to have a service project at a food bank, help out, and make a difference in someone else’s life is a blessing to be a part of.

Altogether, the Brook Hill Guard and the Royal Collegiate Knights varsity football teams packaged a total of 23,554 meals during the project.

The Brook Hill Guard also took care of business on the gridiron field of battle, as they defeated the Knights from Royal Imperial Collegiate High School in the third annual Tyler Ford/Brook Hill American Warrior Bowl Game, 51-27.

Since October 1988, the East Texas Food Bank, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, has provided food to over 200 partner agencies, in an effort to feed children, the working poor and seniors throughout 26 counties in East Texas. As a clearinghouse for donated food, the East Texas Food Bank forms a partnership with the food industry by collecting, inspecting, sorting, packaging and distributing food to member agencies, which provide food directly to those in need. During the 2014 fiscal year, East Texas Food Bank provided 22,400,000 meals to hungry East Texans.

For more information about the East Texas Food Bank, visit www.easttexasfoodbank.org.

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