Southwest Louisiana’s contingent of professional athletes are using their platform to help raise awareness of the monumenta rebuilding task facing the area, as well as funds to help those efforts.
Major League Baseball players Jace Peterson of the Milwaukee Brewers and Wade LeBlanc started a GoFundMe page for hurricane relief earlier this week, with a goal of raising $100,000. The money would be used for a variety of relief programs, including help for the McNeese baseball program. Peterson played baseball and football at McNeese.
NBA player Josh Gray of the New Orleans Pelicans also started a GoFundMe page, with a goal of raising $75,000.
Peterson, a Hamilton Christian graduate, hit a home run Wednesday in his first game since announcing the relief page. Peterson said his home suffered only minor damage but he is determined to help after seeing others lose everything.
“I had friends who totally lost their houses, the wind blew the roof off their homes,” he said in a video posted to the team’s social media pages.
“People close to me lost everything in terms of material things. For me it is a matter of trying to help and do everything I can whether it is rebuilding baseball fields for little ones or the Boys and Girls Villages. I’m anxious to be able to get back home and help first hand. Until then I’m trying to raise awareness and funds, along with Wade LeBlanc.”
In an mlb.com post, LeBlanc, a Barbe graduate, said the funds will be targeted to those most in need.
“It’s for those who have taken the greatest hits,” he said. “It’s just devastating. It really is. The pictures don’t do it justice.”
Gray, who attended Washington-Marion, told nba.com that he suffered only minor damage but wants to help those most affected.
“The city is completely destroyed,” he said. “It’s heartbreaking to see these families who worked all their lives for these beautiful homes, the things they have, and within 24 hours, it’s all taken away from them. It’s heartbreaking and devastating.”