Community helps replace stolen football team gear

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HURRICANE, W.Va. (WSAZ) — After young athletes suffered an unexpected loss off the field, community members stepped up to help them.

A football field near West Teays Valley Elementary is used by the Hurricane Middle football team and other leagues.

A riding mower and weed killer were stolen from the property in mid-October.

“It was really disappointing that someone wanted to rob a football team,” said Rob Benson, the college boys’ team coach.

The team’s budget was not big enough to replace the stolen items.

Hurricane Mayor Scott Edwards began making phone calls to organize a fundraiser.

On Wednesday night, young players received a reminder that there’s always a kinder side to humanity.

They gathered at Ryan Walker’s electrical equipment business in Hurricane to accept a brand new lawn mower and weed killer.

“It’s not the kids’ fault,” Walker said. “We have to try to help them stay busy and involved in the sport. It helps them, I think. Growing up, I always played something.

Walker cut the price of one of his mowers in half, and other businesses and community members helped pay for it.

“Our community loves helping people,” said Mayor Edwards.

“It’s really exciting that all these people want to come together and make us better,” said footballer Tanner Gum.

“There were so many people who stepped up and were so generous in such a short time,” Coach Benson said.

The coach says the excess money donated will go towards improving their security and the facilities where the items are stored to hopefully prevent something like this from happening again.

They say the new mower can mow the field in about half the time it took the previous mower, which was about 20 years old.

No arrests have been made in the case and the stolen items have not been recovered, the mayor said.

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