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Union football players give thanks to community by giving back

The Union High School Red Hawks got out the rakes and leaf blowers Wednesday as they helped their neighbors with yard work.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Union High School football coach Don Fellows made it clear that his team wasn't looking for any kind of special recognition when they showed up to rake leaves along Tremont Court on Wednesday afternoon. They were just looking to help their neighbors.

The coach and his players might not want to brag about the good deed. But their neighbors sure do want to brag about these kids.

Back in September, we told you about the two former Grand Rapids Public Schools employees working to put what they called "a big hug" around Union High and Westwood Middle School. Part of that goodwill project included raising money amongst west side neighbors to pay for pizza for the Union football players.

"It means a lot to us when we get people coming out here giving us pizza and doing stuff they don't gotta do for us, and it just means a lot knowing we've got people who support us," said Union senior Robbie Dedrick.

Wednesday's yard work project was a way for the football team to say "thank you" to some of the people who helped them out over the course of this season. Many of the people in the neighborhood they were cleaning up are senior citizens.

"It feels good, just giving back to people because they've done a lot for us," said Union junior Kaharri Caldwell.

"It shows they have our back and just giving back to them, it feels good."

Around 30 members of the football team showed up for the project Wednesday.

On the football field, Union did not qualify for the playoffs this season, but the program is making strides. Just a few years ago, Union went four straight seasons without winning any games. But they've gone 4-5 each of the last two years. This season they began the year 3-0 and earned a spot in the week four 13 On Your Sidelines Game of the Week.

The underclassmen on the team expect that success to continue into next year.

"Everybody's getting locked in. We're going to have a great offseason and I feel like we're going to come out and do good," Caldwell said.

The organizers of the goodwill project will be hosting a "Get To Know Your Neighbors" event on Saturday, Nov. 5 from 4:30 to 8 p.m. in the Tremont Court cul-de-sac. The event is designed to thank those who helped out with the project, but everyone is welcome.

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