SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — It’s National Senior Citizens Day and to help out area seniors, members of the Western New England football team reached out to some homeowners in need of some help around their homes.
Whacking, chopping and raking – all part of an extreme home makeover of sorts, courtesy of novice landscapers who are used to working on a different type of field
“These are a great bunch of kids who really value the importance of giving back to the community. We have 121 kids spread out throughout Springfield in five different sites today,” says WNE football coach Keith Emery.
One of those sites is this home on Pine Street in Springfield. The homeowner was camera-shy, but very grateful for the yard work that might never have gotten done
“She has no family to do the yard work for her and she’s unable to get out here herself to do her yard work and so she has the neighbor who does her front, but no one was doing the back,” adds Laurie William of Rebuilding Together.
That where the Western New England University football team stepped in.
“[You're a big tough guy, Andrew. This project doesn't phase you] No, absolutely not. We are doing it for the right reason and that’s all that really matters. We are helping out people that can’t do it for themselves,” explains Andrew Gatzogiannis.
The weeds, branches, and vegetation had grown out of control. It would take a team to spruce up the backyard.
Defensive lineman Kevin Soule explains, “Definitely makes us bond closer because we are all out here working together and helping other people, so it definitely brings us together.”
Coach Emery adds, “It has helped our program grow the last nine years I have been there. It’s really helped build that leadership component that we are looking for.”
Hacking through the brush and bugs was a piece of cake compared to the grueling preps for the coming football season.
“[You get scared of the spiders and the snakes rolling around here?] Nah, can’t be. I get scared of scared of big 300 pound tackles like Soule over there, not spiders,” says Gatzogiannis.
The season kicks off for the WNE Golden Bears on Saturday, September 7.