VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Beach youth league football team that had their equipment shed vandalized got a big surprise on Monday.
As 10 On Your Side reported last week, someone ransacked the VB Cooke Redskins’ shed just weeks before a big trip to the national championships in Florida.
After our original story aired, some community leaders wanted to help the team turn a negative situation into a positive one.
Dominion Energy and Charles Barker Automotive donated a combined $13,000 to the team.
Head coach Dequan Johnson says he’s at a loss for words.
“I can’t even talk right now. I’m just grateful, man. It’s a blessing,” he said.
The team had a tough lesson in adversity last week when someone damaged helmets, shoulder pads and other items inside their equipment shed.
“When we saw the story that these kids were in need, we just wanted to step up and help,” said Bonita Billingsley Harris, media and communications manager for Dominion Energy.
The money will help send the kids to Florida to play in the American Youth Football National Championship and replace the damaged equipment.
“We’re happy to help kids, we’re happy to be a part of this community and we’re happy to give at this time of year, of course,” said Nathan Drory, president of Charles Barker Automotive.
City councilman Aaron Rouse knows the impact being a part of this team can have. He played for the Cooke Redskins as a kid himself.
“It helped me understand that my grades were more important than football,” Rouse said. “It helped me learn the fundamentals of life, discipline, being accountable, being responsible.”
Johnson said it’ll be the trip of a lifetime for his players.
“It’s real nice to see some people out here in our community seeing what’s going on and [they] stepped up and played a big role … for the kids,” Johnson said.
The kids couldn’t be happier, and say they’re looking forward to bringing home the trophy.
“We made it so far, and people doubted us that we would make it this far, but you see that [we’re] here now,” said player Kasir Patterson.
The team leaves to compete for the big game in Florida on Friday, Dec. 6.