NCF Nation: Kit Hughes
Posted by ESPN.com's Heather Dinich
Day Two, March 2
After playing a couple of games with the other group we head off to the air mattress feeling exhausted and satisfied. Only one day down and we already have made an impact on Pass Christian. To talk and meet with these people you could definitely feel their complete gratitude for the work being done and it was very satisfying to feel as though we are truly making a difference. I am very excited about just the amount of work we are capable of completing this week and I pray that the following days will be as productive.
-- NC State defensive back Zach Powell
On March 1, a small group of NC State football players and staff members traded their jerseys and equipment for T-shirts and chain saws, axes and rakes. They gave up other spring break plans and the comfort of their own beds to spend five nights on the kitchen floor of a Catholic church and help rebuild the devastation that still lingers from the 2005 Hurricane Katrina.
|From left to right: Wayne Crawford, Jeff Archer, Zach Powell, Desmond Roberts (crouching), Bobby Blick and Kit Hughes pose for a picture during their trip to Lizana, Miss.|
They kept a log book, and each day took turns chronicling their trip.
"By the end, seeing how much each day meant to them, I couldn't ask for anything more than that," said NC State assistant director of football operations Kit Hughes, who organized the 13-hour bus ride to Lizana, Miss. "I knew this was going to be the kind of trip where you give a lot and get even more out of it than you'd ever imagine. It really delivered in every way."
The trip was arranged through Project Hope and Compassion, hosted by St. Ann's Catholic Church. It was a small church -- sufficient for about 200 people -- and the NC State players and coaches slept on air mattresses in the kitchen, where they also cooked their own breakfast, mopped the floors and did the dishes.
(It wasn't too unbearable, 290-pound defensive tackle Wayne Crawford said, except for the fact his air mattress kept deflating and he felt "wrapped up like a taco.")
They also cleaned the bathrooms, but at night, the hosts from the church would cook them dinner, usually local cuisine. They had red beans and rice, po' boy sandwiches, alligator, and one night had a catfish fry. The mayor of Pass Christian also gave them oysters one night.
"People were pretty brave when it came to the food," Hughes said, "but it was a very humble experience."
Powell, offensive guard Desmond Roberts, graduate students Bobby Blick, Jeff Archer and Al Washington also participated.
"It was worth it because we got to go down there, and I can always go to Florida and hang out there and do stuff, but the opportunity presented itself to help somebody and make somebody else smile," Crawford said."