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The Stevenson football program collected more than $1,000 this week to donate toward tornado relief efforts for those affected in Illinois earlier this week.
The city of Washington, Illinois, and surrounding areas were devastated when multiple tornadoes blew through the towns, and among those affected were the Washington football team. The Panthers are currently preparing for their 5A semifinal game against Sacred Heart-Griffin with heavy hearts, so Bill McNamara's group decided to help out.
Though the Patriots are also preparing for a semifinal contest, theirs in 8A against Loyola, senior Zack Kozub and junior Patrick O'Connell headed the project, as the Stevenson football team went around the school asking for donations. The Patriots sent out the check to Washington on Thursday night.
"It's a tragedy, and it could happen to us at any time, losing everything you have and go to nothing," Kozub said. "So for us it's just, most of us all pretty well-privileged and well-off, so I think it's just giving back to the community. They're a football team, we're a football team, we're a family in some way we're connected and that's why we're doing this. It couldn't be a better time or a better cause.
"Any nickel and dime, it's all coming in. We know that is something happened to us, other people would be looking after our backs.
Added McNamara: "Our hearts go out to all the people that were impacted by the tornadoes, not only in Washington but in other communities. It certainly puts the game of football in perspective; the game of life is much bigger than the game of football. We're thinking about those people and we're going to hopefully make some donations to help out their cause."