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High school football team helps teacher with flooded home

March 1, 2019

MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala. (AP) — Sometimes coming to the aid of someone in distress is just the right thing to do.

Other times, it’s out of sheer love and respect. Then there are times when it’s a combination of the two.

Such was the case Tuesday when a group of Muscle Shoals High School football players came to the aid of a beloved teacher, Amanda King.

Her home in the Nathan Estates neighborhood off Wilson Dam Road was one of several that sustained major water damage last weekend when torrential downpours settled on her property.

Water continued to cover her yard Tuesday.

About 10 members of the football team, along with head football coach Scott Basden and assistant Derek Weaver, came to the aid of the middle school science teacher.

Weaver said of the cleanup, “This is what we do.”

Holding back tears, King watched the boys, all 11th-graders, move furniture off of her water-saturated floors and pull up carpet to haul out of the home.

“When (Superintendent Brian Lindsey) called and asked what I needed, I said fans. He got them to me and all these guys came, too,” she said, the tears breaking through.

“I can’t even express my gratitude. I love every one of these kids. I taught them and for that year they were mine. Now, here they are helping me like this. There are no words.”

Keevon Hankins recalls King’s science class and her being a favorite teacher. He said seeing her home in ruins was upsetting, but he wouldn’t let a chance to help pass him by.

“It’s like helping a close friend, you know,” he said. “She’s always helped me and had love for all of us and now it’s my turn. It’s our turn. All these guys feel the exact same way.”

Teammate Elijah Morrow said he saw the devastation and immediately thanked God that it wasn’t worse.

“It’s just really an honor to help someone who has helped us so much,” he said. “Not that we wouldn’t help anyone, because we will, especially in this cleanup. But with her, it’s just sort of like this is something we can do to give back a little.”

Eli Underwood said King was his teacher as well. “I’d have been here no matter what with these tough times she’s going through.”

Zac Epperson agreed and said simply, “Helping her just feels right.”

With many Muscle Shoals students also affected by the flooding, high school Principal Chad Holden said it didn’t take long for numerous groups from within the school to form, ready to help.

“This is about helping their community and countless students have been reaching out to people,” Holden said. “They’re ready to go anywhere they’re needed.”

Most of the team members were seeing the flood-ravaged area for the first time. Several said it was worse than they’d imagined.

King’s parents and sister were in town to help with the cleanup Tuesday as well, all commenting on the gracious, helping spirit of the teens filling her home.

“This is so touching to see these kids come to her aid like this, and it does this mom’s heart good to see our daughter living in such a special community where people pull together and take care of each other,” said King’s mom, Bonnie Wilhite.

King’s daughter, Alex, a classmate to Tuesday’s work crew, said it’s just a testament to the character of her 11th-grade class.

“I’m just grateful for them and for their help,” she said. “We’re a really close class and these people, this is how they are when there’s a need. They meet it.

“I know we’ll be OK and that the Lord has a plan. I look forward to getting past this and looking back, when we are overcomers.”

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Information from: TimesDaily, http://www.timesdaily.com/