Longhorn Players Reach Out To Community

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Holiday spirit glowed in a band of Payson High School football players as they delivered a Thanksgiving feast to a Star Valley family.

Seniors Luke Apfel, Joe Blackburn, Rand Hallman and Kevin Allen accompanied coach Jerry Rhoades Nov. 23 to the home where they unloaded $200 worth of groceries to an obviously grateful mom and her three children.

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Longhorn football players Luke Apfel, Joe Blackburn, coach Jerry Rhoades, Kevin Allen and Rand Hallman distribute Thanksgiving groceries to a Star Valley family.

Included in the gift were vegetables, dressing mix, potatoes, desserts, beverages and a 20-pound turkey.

The team's holiday gift is a twice-a-year project undertaken by senior members of the football team.

The athletes will select another deserving family to receive a Christmas basket in mid-December.

Rhoades said the benefit is the team's way of giving back to the community and teaching players responsibility and empathy for others.

The idea to adopt a family for the holidays was hatched two years ago at the Longhorns' annual senior retreat.

"We wanted (the players) to be involved in more than just playing football," Rhoades said. "So, we came up with this.

"It's good for the players."

The money to purchase the groceries is earned by the team members during various year-round benefits and at the Jack Morris Memorial Golf Tournament.

The responsibility of purchasing the feast this year fell upon the shoulders of Hallman, who solicited the help of his mother, Teri, on the shopping trip.

Having her along might have been a good idea for the nutrition of the recipient family.

"Those vegetables were my mom's idea. I wouldn't have gotten all those," Hallman said.

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