Unselfish teamwork: Heritage Middle boys basketball team assists two Blount County charities

Michelle Davis, far right, accepts a donation from the Heritage Middle School boys basketball team for the Blount County Children’s Home. Presenting the check are Derek Mewborn, Dillon Whaley, Devon Gardner, Aaron Inman, Garrett Headrick, Andrew Pryor, Hunter Bailey, Matt Stephens and Spencer Rothery.

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Michelle Davis, far right, accepts a donation from the Heritage Middle School boys basketball team for the Blount County Children’s Home. Presenting the check are Derek Mewborn, Dillon Whaley, Devon Gardner, Aaron Inman, Garrett Headrick, Andrew Pryor, Hunter Bailey, Matt Stephens and Spencer Rothery.

Claudia Brady, second row left, accepts a check from the Heritage Middle School boys basketball team for the Boys and Girls Club. Presenting the check are Derek Mewborn, Dillon Whaley, Spencer Rothery, Devon Gardner, Aaron Inman, Andrew Pryor, Garrett Headrick, Matt Stephens, Hunter Blair and Hunter Bailey.

Photo by Jolanda Jansma

Claudia Brady, second row left, accepts a check from the Heritage Middle School boys basketball team for the Boys and Girls Club. Presenting the check are Derek Mewborn, Dillon Whaley, Spencer Rothery, Devon Gardner, Aaron Inman, Andrew Pryor, Garrett Headrick, Matt Stephens, Hunter Blair and Hunter Bailey.

The Heritage Middle School boys basketball team made their coach and athletic director proud recently when they took incentives intended as a reward for them and donated those funds to the Blount County Children’s Home and the Boys and Girls Club of Blount County.

Athletic director Mike McMahan said the Heritage Middle School boys basketball team has a history of helping people. “Whether it involves reaching out to a fellow student with cancer, visiting and encouraging a teammate who had to endure back surgery, participating in mission trips or visiting retirement homes, the Mustangs are learning that their position on the team can also be an opportunity to serve,” he said.

With this in mind, McMahan said he and Coach Monika Belcher came up with an incentive program to reward hard work. “Players would accumulate points based on performance in four areas: grades, game performance, extra practice time on their own and community service,” McMahan said. “At the end of the year the points would be tallied and incentives awarded at various levels. Several of the players worked very hard in all areas and earned credit for incentives.”

The athletic director said the end of our season coincided with some catastrophic events, not only locally, but worldwide. Strong storms in February wiped out the Second Harvest Food Bank supplies and affected other local charities. The earthquake and tsunamis in Japan left many people with nothing, he said.

“We called a meeting of our eighth grade players to discuss options. They were told that the incentive program work they did was impressive, and that we would be glad to award the prizes they had earned,” McMahan said. “We also suggested the money might be put to another use. The players met for about 10 minutes and agreed unanimously to use the money earmarked for incentives to donate to two local entities which serve the youth of Blount County.”

On Monday, May 2, the boys basketball team presented the Blount County Children’s Home and the Boys and Girls Club of Blount County with checks for $200 to use as needed. “We are very proud of our young men on this team, and feel they have learned a valuable lesson through this act of generosity,” McMahan said.

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