Ancilla team makes another type of 'big play'
DONALDSON — The images of devastation in the nations mid section have become an almost nightly horror during this spring.
Joe Yonto, head baseball coach at Ancilla College, had a chance to see them first hand over the past week. Struck by the tragedy in Alabama, Yonto and the Charger baseball team spent the last week of their season raising supplies for those hurt by the killer storms that have been ripping through the section of the country.
Rather than just ship them, Yonto took a team of Assistant Coach Terry Coleman, former Charger infielder Trace Myers and Dennis Emmons who owns and operates the Ancilla Athletic Dorm - The Pointe - and delivered the supplies in person.
“It was almost overwhelming the response of our community to help others,” said Yonto. “We only had a week at the end of our season to raise everything and it was amazing the outpouring of supplies that people gave to help others. We filled our bus completely full of water, hygiene products, baby needs, clothing, everything that was taken away from the people in Alabama.”
Gathering up the supplies at WTCA, The LifePlex, Martin’s Supermarkets and Ancilla College the group loaded a bus and struck out for Birmingham determined to do what they could. Working through the local Diocese of the Catholic Church in the city they could hardly have expected their reception.
“We pulled in to Our Lady of The Valley, on Tuesday which was operating as a sort of headquarters for relief efforts in the area,” said Yonto. “We hadn’t even stopped the bus and people were already thanking us happy to see us, appreciative of everything the people here had done to help them.”
While there the group spent several days loading and unloading trucks of supplies to be delivered around the state, delivering support messages from Dr. Ron May, President of Ancilla and others to the Bishop of the Birmingham Diocese and seeing first hand the effects of the storm.
“The Sisters gave us relief worker hats to identify us as people who were helping,” said Yonto. “There had been some looting in some areas and people were pretty protective of their property - which you can understand. The stories of the people who survived were amazing. So many people just lost everything.
“The people of our community need to know that they helped a lot of people there.”