SIU Football Lends Helping Hand to Harrisburg

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By Kelly Burke, KBurke@wsiltv.com

HARRISBURG-- The images are haunting, the destruction devastating, but hope abounds in Harrisburg. It's a call to action SIU football quietly jumped on.

"It's eye-opening, you really don't know what to expect until you get here and then it's just wow, why did this really happen?" questioned SIU center Tanner Crum.

And the realities of the cleanup effort don't go wasted on the 30 plus
players and coaches in attendance, who are used to pushing around opposing lineman, not tree trunks.

"It's something you don't want to go through but you really want to help.
You know even the little bit you do makes a big difference and that's
really what you want to accomplish, let the people of Harrisburg know we care," said SIU Head Football Coach Dale Lennon.

The team has many close relationships with Saluki fans in town and says volunteering their time was a no-brainer.

"It could have easily been Du Quoin or any of these other surrounding
towns so to be able to get an opportunity to come out here and help in the area where I grew up is really just an honor," said SIU quarterback A.J. Hill.

An afternoon of tough manual labor and lifting, but one the team hopes
makes a small dent in cleaning up the destruction.

"The attention should be on the town of Harrisburg and how they're going to recover, it shouldn't be on S-I-U football or any other group coming in," SIU Offensive Line Coach Phil Meyer added.

More than anything, it's a game-changer, a startling reminder of how life can change in a split-second.

"It makes you appreciate what you have, and I'm very thankful for what I
do have and what we all have," said Meyer.
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