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West hoops, South swimming give back

CHINA GROVE — Although the wins haven’t been coming for West Rowan’s boys basketball team so far this season, the Falcons took solace in the perspective they got Saturday.
The Falcons weren’t in a box-and-1 defense or heading a fast break but they looked pretty comfortable giving the less fortunate in the community some hope during the holiday season.
West, along with the South Rowan swim team, assisted St. Mark’s Lutheran Church of China Grove in serving a hot lunch to the needy and putting smiles on their faces.
The Falcons were smiling too.
“It makes me realize how grateful I am to have the things I have,” said West senior captain Jack Gallagher. “What we do is a small thing. This is huge.”
Members of both teams waited on those enjoying a meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and green beans. After the meal, some families gained access to a gift room that allowed them to provide Christmas presents for children.
The church coordinated the event along with Main Street Mission in China Grove. The Church has organized the event since 2005. This was the second year that West participated.
Clay and Rhonda Martin, parents of West junior Seth Martin, approached West coach Mike Gurley about helping with the cause last year and the longtime West coach was honored.
“In today’s world, we’ve got to learn to give to each other,” Gurley said. “Give your time, give your energy, give your skills. We’re trying to teach that on the basketball floor. We’re honored to be able to teach those skills in a life environment.”
West players like Gallagher, Martin, Daisean Reddick, Najee Tucker, Darius Gabriel and Broderick Avery brought food to the table while Chris Hassard and Zeke Blackwood helped families upstairs pick out gifts.
West began serving at 11:30 a.m. with South taking over at 1 p.m.
South Rowan coach Jacob Morton, a member of St. Mark’s, had about 25 members of his team show up and help.
“We get a lot of support from the community and I feel like we shouldn’t just be takers,” Morton said. “We should give back.”
The Flat Possum Hoppers string band and the South Rowan High band provided entertainment.
“We’re getting a lot out of it for helping them but it’s helping them more than it’s helping us,” South swimmer Jeremiah Bradshaw said. “I’m just really happy our whole team came out to support this.”

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