Jaguars send truckloads of donations to Lions, community

Tuesday, August 23, 2016
by: Rene Abadie

Unloading suppliesUNLOADING SUPPLIES – Southeastern head women’s soccer coach Blake Hornbuckle hands off supplies destined for flooded regions in the Hammond area. The supplies were collected through a drive spearheaded by a University of South Alabama drive. Southeastern coaches and staff unloaded the supplies and sorted them in the Hammond Daily Star’s warehouse under the supervision of the United Way of Southeast Louisiana.

Old friendsOLD FRIENDS -- University of South Alabama Athletic Director Joel Erdmann, right, talks with Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller, center, and Southeastern alumnus Andre Coudrain after delivering truckloads of disaster relief supplies in Hammond. Erdmann was the former athletic director at Southeastern several years ago and headed the drive in the Mobile area to aid flood victims in the Hammond and Lafayette areas.

     HAMMOND – When Joel and Tina Erdmann parted ways with Southeastern Louisiana University seven years ago, they said the Hammond university would always hold a special place in their hearts.
     That sentiment led to five trucks loaded down with donated water, food, baby supplies, pet food, cleaning materials and other items courtesy of the people of the Mobile area who responded to the University of South Alabama’s (USA) call to help the people of south Louisiana impacted by the recent floods. It was a special delivery from the USA Jaguars and their community to the SLU Lions and their community.
     “I met with our staff and coaches last week and suggested we help, and they were in full support,” said USA Athletic Director Joel Erdmann, who served as athletic director at Southeastern from May 2007 to August 2009 when he returned to his alma mater. “I knew we needed to do something, so we put out a call to the community for supplies. I didn’t know what kind of response we would get. By the second day, I knew we would need a second truck. The supplies kept coming in and we ended up with five trucks full of supplies.”
     When Jamene Dahmer of the United Way of Southeast Louisiana saw the five large trucks loaded with supplies pulling into the Daily Star newspaper’s parking lot Monday morning, her first words were, “This is so heartwarming. It is an example of the best of human kindness.”
After dropping off half the supplies in Hammond, the trucks headed to Lafayette to help the people in that area since USA plays in the Sun Belt Conference with the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.
     Monday was the first day of classes at Southeastern, and most of the student-athletes were in the classroom, so more than 40 coaches and staff members volunteered and worked together to unload the trucks and sort them in the warehouse.
     Dahmer said the supplies would be distributed to area churches and other organizations that are disseminating them to people in need.
     Southeastern Athletic Director Jay Artigues said he is impressed with the outpouring of volunteerism and support the area is receiving from people and organizations.
     “Joel contacted us last week and said he wanted to do something to help our area,” Artigues said. “It’s a very generous gesture.”
     “Last week, our student-athletes gutted over 60 homes and worked in food banks and shelters,” he added. Monday it was the staff and coaches’ turn to do their community service.
     In addition to the response of the student-athletes, more than 160 other students worked Wednesday through Friday cleaning and gutting more than 68 homes.
     On hand at the USA delivery was Tangipahoa Parish President Robby Miller. “This is overwhelming,” he said, “and shows we have friends all over the region. Joel’s efforts will make a real impact on those affected by the floods.”

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