From fenceposts to painting, Tech football players help at Mustard Seed Ranch

From fenceposts to painting, Tech football players help at Mustard Seed Ranch

By Rob Schabert, TTU Sports Information Director

COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- Saturday was one of the final few days off for the Tennessee Tech football team before fall camp begins in August.

Like most Americans, the Golden Eagles could have gone to the lake to cool off. They could have done any of hundreds of other Summer activities.

But about 40 members of the squad spent most of the day helping out at the Mustard Seed Ranch, just outside of Cookeville, doing a variety of projects to assist the youth home.

The list of jobs the Golden Eagles filled Saturday included painting hundreds of yards of fencing, washing gutters and windows, and digging holes and placing fence posts. In the evening, with the hard work completed, the players spent some time relaxing with the kids who live at Mustard Seed Ranch, playing some football and diving into some pizza.

"Installing fence posts is a new deal for me," said sophomore Brett Dillard, the returning starter at right tackle. "I've never done any fence building before, but it's a great feeling to be able to help the ranch, help the kids, and be a good influence from the community. To be someone they can look up to."

Despite temperatures in the 90s, not a negative word was heard from the players working hard.

"When you're doing something good for somebody, you kind of forget about the heat," Dillard said. "It's not necessarily what you might want to be doing on a Saturday, but when you're out here helping these kids, you realize maybe it really is what you want to be doing."

The work project was part of a summer Interdisciplinary Studies course entitled Academic and Community Success.  Each student completed 6 hours of service learning as part of the course.

Mustard Seed Ranch (MSR) is an interdenominational Christian ministry serving children who have been neglected, abused, orphaned or are in need of a loving family environment. MSR sows seeds of hope in the hearts of children by providing healing through spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical support while meeting the needs of their social development. Ultimately, the MSR hopes to reintegrate healthy young Christian individuals into society equipped to achieve the purpose God has in their own lives. click here to view the Mustard Seed Ranch website

Jordan Johnson, the returning starter at noseguard, was one of the offensive and defensive linemen called upon for the physically tough job of digging post holes. It was a new experience for the senior from Miami.

"We're really here to put some smiles on the kid's faces," Johnson said. "It's hard work out here, but we're just having a good time. Being from Miami, we don't need to dig too many post holes. This is the first time I've ever done this, but I think I'm getting the hang of it now."

Some snapshots from Saturday's projects at Mustard Seed Ranch:


photos by Jocelyn VerVelde and Rob Schabert

Watch for a special video piece with interviews this fall as a feature segment on The Watson Brown Show