One by one, the cars rolled up the steep driveway of local Castleton community members.
Stepping out of them were just over a dozen Castleton University football players eager to help. They walked into the garage back and forth carrying 30 years of heavy toolboxes, work benches and boxes and loading it all onto two trailers.
Anthony Marsella is the defensive coordinator for the football team and Community Service coordinator for the Athletic Department. He describes community service as one of the three main pillars of the football team.
“A tripod can’t stand without three legs,” he said.
This is the main reason the team is still eager to give back to the community safely, despite the ongoing pandemic.
Marsella said that typically, in non-COVID years, the football team will do about 20 to 25 service events annually, including setting up the gym for community events, helping rake leaves, playing games at the Senior Center and even hosting “Be the Match,” a bone marrow donation drive.
Since it started hosting “Be the Match,” there have been three players, Pat Powers, Wyatt Prue and most recently Jake Roth, who have been called upon and donated their bone marrow to help save a life.
Recently, Tom Kelly, supervisor at the dining hall, reached out to the football players and members of the men’s hockey team when his in-laws needed help moving out of the house(.) they have lived in for 30 years and into their temporary housing after their closing date was moved up.
“We are very thankful for getting the help we got to get everything out,” Kelly said.
Two-year captain on the football team, Dustin Rock, said it feels really good to give back, especially the more personal efforts that help specific families.
He said that his favorite part is “seeing someone’s face when a large group of guys from the team show up to help them.”
Seth Gewanter is also a two-year captain and said it is really nice to be in a leadership position, as a program, where they are relied on by members of the community.
The other captain, Tony Martinez, believes that the community service opportunities mirror reciprocity.
“I like giving back to the community because they give effort by showing up to our games and supporting us when we need them,” he said.
Despite the pandemic, there are still opportunities to give back to the community and the Castleton football team is looking to do so, however they can, safely.
“It is important people know to reach out to the coaches with opportunities. We want to help out and get guys there. We have the manpower. It is a great opportunity for us and certainly, not an inconvenience,” Rock said.