Troup athletes give thanks to first responders

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 10, 2016

LAGRANGE – It was just a way to say thanks.

On Saturday morning, members of the Troup High wrestling and baseball teams came out to Lafayette Square to participate in what was known as “First Responders Appreciation Day.”

The event was organized by Diane Fondren, and Troup coach Craig Garner volunteered the services of the players on the baseball and wrestling teams.

Garner sent the world out last week to the players, and a bunch of them showed up on Saturday to be a part of the event.

Dozens of first responders were treated to refreshments during the event that lasted about three hours on Saturday morning.

“I thought it’d be a great way to help and assist, and try to contribute back,” said Garner, who is the head coach for the Troup baseball and wrestling teams.

Garner said when the first responders showed up in their vehicles, they were welcomed by the players.

“We had our guys prepped up,” Garner said. “As soon as a fire truck would stop, our guys would immediately form up, and I relate it like a run-through of some kind. They’d walk into the square, and they were being told how much they mean to us, and how much we appreciate the job they do.”

Garner said there was a steady stream of first responders throughout the morning.

“It was a good turnout, for the first time doing it,” Garner said. “We probably had I’m guessing 50 to 60 first responders show up, and they were able to get a drink, and get a bite to eat, and just take a few minutes to socialize and visit a little bit.”

The baseball players and wrestlers didn’t get word of the event until late last week, but Garner said he had no trouble getting enough people to help out.

“We had a big turnout,” Garner said. “We sent out the request on our part Thursday. It was a late notice, but they jumped in, and it wasn’t nothing for them to give up two or three hours of their Saturday for something like that.”

Garner has always encouraged the men he coaches to step outside of the world of sports and become involved in the community, and he felt Saturday’s event was a fine way to do that.

“We’re always looking for community projects, and we thought it’d be a great way to kick off the school year, and immediately get our guys involved in doing something, and giving back to the community,” Garner said.

Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 or on Twitter @lagrangesports

By Kevin Eckleberry