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(TAYLORVILLE) — Some of the items which have been donated and will be taken to Mayfield, Ky. for delivery on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. Taylorville High School Head Football Coach Jeb Odam and his staff is spearheading a drive to hopefully make the holidays a little brighter for those devastated by this past weekend’s tornadoes. They hope to fill four semi-trailers with toys and other supplies to take south.
Breeze-Courier Sports Writer
This past Friday night a tornado was the cause of major devastation. Eight total states were in the tornadoes wake but one state was hit harder than any.
“Im pretty sure that number (death toll) is north of 70. It may exceed 100 before the day is done,” Kentucky Governor Andy Besmeared said reluctantly in the press conference on Saturday morning. At least 50 tornado reports were made across the eight states. For Taylorville Head football coach, Jeb Odam, this was the perfect time to pay it forward. Odam says he was on his way home when the idea came to him.
“When I talked to Coach Lee Matteer about this, driving home from dinner Saturday night, he said it sounded like a great idea.”
He also says the way his idea has caught fire since sending the email Saturday night is very touching and hits home to the town of Taylorville.
“I was just envisioning a little 6×12 trailer full of toys. It has been very overwhelming since Sunday,” Odam said. “ I think everybody can relate to the angst that we had when the tornado came through, the devastation and just how surreal it was to walk down the street.”
The Taylorville Tornado football staff have their hands full. Odam has already reserved four semi-trucks to make the haul all the way to Kentucky on Sunday. He says if they can fit four trucks worth of toys, clothes and the all too meaningful Christmas trees it would be a “grand slam” for the entire drive. The drive will be held Saturday, Dec. 18, from 8:00 – 10:00 a.m.
Odam remembers the aftermath of the tornado that ripped through Taylorville on Dec. 1, 2017 and how every member of the community came together – companies from all over donating toys and supplies. After seeing the all too familiar nightmare taking place in Kentucky he says it was time to give back.
“Mayfield, Ky. is different. That tornado went all the way through town, it was much larger and then they have the loss of life on top of that,” said Odam.
The message the 12-year head coach is wanting to send to everyone is a special one, just in time for the holidays.
“After ours it was very touching and emotional. That always stuck with me that people are good. Through all of our problems and issues, people are good,” he said.
The staff is looking for any donations from toys, clothes and any supplies anyone feels the need to give to soften the blow of this terrible natural disaster.