COVID-19 blindsided all fourteen thousand plus students at Southeastern Louisiana University, and the Southeastern Football Team’s roster received another blow whenever Tom Burnett, the Southland Conference Commissioner, said that the fall sports season was postponed. Southeastern’s Athletic Director Artigues said,” You know, when it first initially hit, it was a challenge, it was a punch in the gut, it took the wind out of us.”
But for Ronald Cherry III, 2020 wasn’t done dealing blows. His hometown, Lake Charles, was battered by Hurricane Laura. The emotions ran high whenever Cherry found out about the town that shaped him. He was scared about his family home being destroyed. His town now a shell of what it used to be. But now, he knew he had to stand up to the challenge. “I just know that everything happens for a reason.” Cherry said.” I wish neither event had happened, so I can only react naturally to what happened to my city.”
Reacting naturally was creating his own donation organization called “Save Lake Charles”, which consisted of a non-profit donation page on his Instagram account, asking for donations from athletes, students and the Hammond community. Will Douglas, a teammate of Cherry’s said,” Ron reached out to a lot of people through the group messages, the Defensive Line group saying let me know if you have anything you want to donate that you can… He was very vocal about getting the word out.”
Cherry packed up several vehicles and distributed the donations throughout Lake Charles he dropped off clothes, toiletries and foods to people who had nothing. When asked why he decided to help out in his free time, he said, “ There was a point in time where I had nothing. I was homeless, you know? I was impacted by Hurricane Rita as a child, not knowing what to do and I was scared. And I know there’s a lot of people that were scared too. I wanted to help in the best way I knew how. That’s why I am so passionate about my hometown and helping others.”
Helping others has always been a passion of Cherry’s. He has always been there for his teammates in the locker room and on the field. Douglas said,” Ron has always been a big energy guy, super passionate and I think that’s one of his biggest strengths. He’s just a super passionate guy in all he does.”
Cherry may not be Superman, but to someone in Lake Charles he is the hometown hero.
According to savethechildren.org, Hurricane Laura was the 12th named storm of the 2020 Atlantic hurricane season. It was a catastrophic Category Four storm. The strength of the storm even surpassed Hurricane Katrina that decimated the Louisiana coast back in 2008. As of September eighth, Hurricane Laura was responsible for the deaths of 31 people in the United States, including a 14 year-old girl.