\"Notre

Notre Dame fencer Kat Palazzoto pushes a wheelbarrow as she helps cleanup tornado debris in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Oct. 19, 2011. Photo by: AP

Athletes from Notre Dame pitched in to help after 2011 Alabama tornado

\"Notre

Notre Dame fencer Kat Palazzoto pushes a wheelbarrow as she helps cleanup tornado debris in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Oct. 19, 2011. Photo by: AP

During their fall break in 2011, two dozen Fighting Irish athletes traveled to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, for a week of cleanup after a tornado left 50 dead in the community.

Now, a year and a half later, Notre Dame and Alabama are preparing to play each other for the BCS national championship.

"With the hospitality I had down in Alabama, it became one of my favorite schools," David Jones, a Notre Dame cheerleader, told the Associated Press.

"There’s no hostility, but more karma. You meet all these different faces of the Alabama community. You’re just amazed by them and now you’re playing them."

The weeklong service project, called "Fight for Tide," began when Tim Cavanaugh, assistant director of Alabama's ticket office, called Notre Dame program coordinator Sarah Smith, looking for donations.

"It’s one of those things that when special things arise we try to do something if we have the resources and the interest from the student-athletes,’’ said Smith, adding that a group had traveled to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina.

"It all just kind of came together for the Alabama trip. A lot of kids were talking about it. We sent a bunch of clothes down there but then the conversation kind of snowballed to, Why don’t we go down there?"

The Notre Dame group, which did not include football player, who were preparing for the 2011 season at the time, cleared out lots, hauled trash, and dug a ditch. Other schools' students and fans also arrived to help.

Tide softball coach Patrick Murphy and a few of his players worked alongside the Notre Dame athletes on a site a few miles from campus in Alberta City and took them to dinner.

"I think they made a lot of fans in Tuscaloosa because that night when we went to eat, there were several people that came up to me and asked what was going on,’’ Murphy said. ‘‘I said, ‘This is a group of Notre Dame student-athletes.’ And people gave me a look like, ‘Notre Dame?’"

"I can remember reading in the newspaper people wrote and said that, ‘Our opinion of Notre Dame has changed tremendously.’ Just a wonderful gesture by these student-athletes. All of us were really touched by it."

COMMENTS

Log in with your social accounts:

Or, log in with your IrishCentral account:

Forgot your password ?

Don't have an account yet? Register now !

Join IrishCentral with your social accounts:


Already have an account ?

For Newsletter Subscribers – Draw for 1 Prize on December 31st.

Prize: Your Piece of Ireland – a Square of Land in the heart of the Glens of Antrim, Ireland

More details here (or you can buy a little piece of Ireland directly): http://bit.ly/1zew9ox

Terms & Conditions

Or, sign up for an IrishCentral account below:

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


Make sure we gathered the correct information from you

By clicking above you are indicating that you have read & agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.


You already have an account on IrishCentral! Please confirm you're the owner.


Our new policy requires our users to save a first and last name. Please update your account: