WICHITA FALLS, Texas (TNN) - Damage from the tornado can still be seen at Bowie ISD’s athletic complex. With his school, and his students’ homes affected, Coach Cory Mandrell decided to rally his athletics and get to work.
“The more you drove around town the more damage you saw and it just kept getting worse. Didn’t know how bad until the next day when we drove through and it was kind of surreal,” Mandrell said, “kind of looked like a war zone.”
“Felt like a movie, actually,” said Bowie High School junior Colby Miler, “never thought I’d live through something like that.”
More than thirty athletes showed up to clear logs, limbs and other debris.
“They showed up and showed out that day and super proud of them,” Mandrell said.
“I really just wanted to be there for my community and set an example,” added freshman Tucker Jones.
It’s a gesture one of Bowie ISD’s own is grateful for.
Chandler Bell, an incoming senior, was at work when the tornado hit his home.
“It was just kind of difficult not knowing the damage and being able to go over there and help out. Is my house going to be OK are we going to be OK? Just not used to that,” he said.
He said seeing his teammates out in the community, and helping his family through such a difficult time is something he won’t soon forget.
“I knew that if something did happen through here, Bowie would be able to help each other and we’d be a strong community,” said Bell, “but I didn’t expect it to be to this magnitude.”
“Just opened my eyes to how Bowie handles adversity and how we always fight back when things don’t go our way,” added Miller.
As for Coach Mandrell...
“In all my years of coaching, 15-plus years, it’s probably the most proud I’ve been as a coach and it had nothing to do with athletics,” he said.