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Rebels execute a winning holiday drive

December 18, 2010|By MARK KELLER | keller@herald-mail.com
  • Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II (fourth from left behind banner), South Hagerstown football coach Toby Peer (fifth from left behind banner) and members of the South football team donated between $500 and $600 in toys to the Armed Forces Foundation/Aaron's Toy Drive on Friday morning.
Submitted photo

HAGERSTOWN — Chalk up a win for the South Hagerstown High School football team.

The Rebels’ season ended more than a month ago, but coach Toby Peer and the members of the South team orchestrated one more drive on Friday by contributing to the Armed Forces Foundation/Aaron’s Second Annual Toy Drive.

Peer, who just finished his first season at South, said he wanted to inspire fellowship between his players beyond the timeframe of the football season and encourage them to give to those in need during the holiday season.

“I’ve done this in other places I’ve been because I think it’s good to teach the kids that it’s important to give back,” Peer said. “If you teach them when they’re young, they’ll always do it.”

Peer said about 50 players from the football program gathered in the gymnasium Friday morning. After sharing breakfast, which was provided by Chick-fil-A and Save-A-Lot, the players were addressed by principal Richard Akers and Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II.

“They talked, too, about giving back,” Peer said. “Mr. Akers told them that this year’s team has paved the way and laid the foundation for the program down the road.”

The players then walked across Maryland Avenue to Big Lots in the South End Shopping Center, where they bought a toy to donate to the drive. After checking out, they walked to Aaron’s at the end of the strip to drop off their purchases.

Peer estimated that the team donated between $500 and $600 worth of merchandise to the toy drive, which distributes the gifts to military children who have a parent deployed overseas.

“It’s tough to think about a kid who is missing a parent and then is not going to have toys at Christmas,” Peer said.

He said it’s another way of building the South football program from within and helping the community to view the team as something more than just a group of high school kids.

“There are a lot of ways to evaluate a program. It’s more than just wins and losses,” Peer said. “On Friday night, there’s nothing more important than wins or losses. But there’s so much more to it than just that, and those are the lessons that we need to teach these kids, too.”

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