A helping hand
By CRAIG HARVEY
and JEREMY IZZIO
While local student-athletes are recognized for their accomplishments on their respective sports field, they do not always get credit for the acts of kindness they display in the community.
On Saturday, two local sports teams took the time to help the community.
The Fredonia State Blue Devils hockey program went around the Dunkirk and Fredonia area and helped local senior citizens with several different housekeeping chores.
Hockey players Zach White and Chad Bennett spent the day painting at Susan Larivey’s home.
“They were such nice, nice young men,” Larivey raved.
“Give credit to the parents, SUNY Fredonia and their hockey program. What nice, nice hard-working men. To get this kind of work done that I didn’t have to pay for was generous.”
White and Bennett scraped off old paint and put a fresh new coat of paint on the trim, door and the stairs of Larivey’s home.
While Larivey was appreciative of the labor, she also enjoyed getting to know White and Bennett.
“We talked,” she said. “They were fun. It’s nice to have young people around the house. Talking to them, academics was just as important as playing hockey. They were well-balanced in how they set up their lives for the future.”
Fredonia State coach Jeff Meredith feels the program is important because it brings the hockey team and the community together.
“It connects our guys to some wonderful people,” he said. “We get to know them and they get to know us. A lot of neat things come out of it. I think the one thing we talked to the guys about was the fact we aren’t here to just do work, but to talk to people and get to know them and let them know about us.
“I’m like a proud father with these guys,” Meredith continued. “I talked to one of the players afterwards and he said, ‘We made some new friends today.’ I can’t help but be proud of that. We are fortunate we have a lot of good things going for us. To give back is great.
cleans up downtown
Meanwhile, approximately 20 members of the Fredonia Hillbillies soccer program were working on a community service project of their own. The team gathered at the gazebo in Barker Common around 8:30 a.m. to begin cleaning up trash from the surrounding community.
“We got all the boys together and did a trash pickup,” said Fredonia varsity soccer coach Brett Gould. “We went all over the village and all of the surrounding communities. We split up into about three or four large groups. I can’t even begin to tell you how many bags of stuff they found.”
The effort took two hours and covered much of downtown Fredonia including Barker Common and the areas near the Orange Bowl, Fredonia State University, The White Inn and along Eagle Street.
“We teach the kids the phrase ‘We exist to lead the way,'” Gould said. “There are three parts to that – the athletes on the field, in the classroom and in the community. This fulfills one-third of our vision that we live every day. The boys know that you never live just one part of it, it’s three parts every day.”
The cleanup has become an annual event for the Fredonia soccer program. The event is organized every year by the team in conjunction with the village board. For coach Gould, it is just another way to get his players to appreciate their community and the opportunity to play high school sports.
“Its one of the ways we can say thank you because we teach and tell the kids that the reason they get to play sports is because of the taxpayers,” Gould concluded. “It’s just another way for us to say thank you for giving us that opportunity.”