By Jeremy McDonald
KEIZER, Ore.– The season of giving has arrived across the world.
McNary High School Head Softball coach Kevin Wise has supported local causes before, more at the micro-level. But never has done anything a macro-level like this before in helping an orphanage in Afghanistan.
The idea came around when Wise, who’s taking a Sports Marketing and Public Relations class through Liberty University, was talking to one of his classmates via email through a peer editing assignment for the class. Wise found out that the individual, Chief Joe Wekkin, a Blackhawk Pilot in the United States Army, was currently stationed in Afghanistan as we speak.
Wise and his wife wanted to send a care package to his classmate, and the soldiers stationed in the Middle Eastern country, just to try to boost morale during the Holiday Season. But that was also when Wise stumbled upon a golden opportunity to go up-and-beyond the Call of Duty of supporting the men and women of the military.
“I asked him if my wife and I could send a care package for him and some of the soldiers there, just to boost morale during the Holidays. He said that would be great, but then proceeded to tell me about the opportunity to help the orphanage. He said that really helps the morale of the soldiers,” Wise said.
How the Celtic program was brought into the fray came when Wise was checking in on his squad over a Zoom call last week. Checking in and seeing how they were doing.
Wise brought up in passing, not sure what their response would be with what’s going around them, but he brought it up to his squad anyhow.
And their response was positive, wanting to jump on the opportunity to support a good cause.
“They jumped on this and were all super excited to take part,” Wise said. “It was so amazing to witness that and just reiterate to me how awesome these girls are. I keep saying it over and over, and they keep proving it over and over.”
Up at the forefront, pointed Wise, was Abbi Covalt. Jumping on the opportunity to lead the charge. Communicating with her coach with her thought process and things she’s mapped out along the way.
“As a senior on the team, it was exciting to see an opportunity to lead and contribute to a larger cause. Given that our season has been drastically different from most years, I’ve been itching for this kind of chance to lead and set an example for the incoming classes,” Covalt said. “Coach Wise and all of our coaching staff at McNary have built the culture of being positive role models and desire to seek out opportunities to help others.
“I’m having a lot of fun helping organize and problem solve with Coach Wise and the other girls on the team. I’m very happy to see a lot of the younger girls in the program matching my enthusiasm and showing that same energy that I had as a freshman and still have now. I can’t wait to see how this project turns out; there’s a lot of twists and turns with COVID, but above all else, I love seeing all the involvement and passion in our softball program.”
For Wise, it was awesome to see how the girls are literally stepping up to the plate to help out those in need during the Giving Season of the Holidays.
“I am very proud of these girls for the effort they are putting into this project. I am happy for the seniors as well because it gives them a bright spot, in what seems like a dark 9 or so months,” said Wise. “I know that there are a lot of people struggling right now because of everything that is going on right now, so for our program to be able to step up and help out is amazing.
“We talk with our players about being good citizens, and that involves grades, behavior, and giving back to, or being involved with, the community. This is a prime example of the things we want them to be doing, because these are life lessons and hopefully, they will continue this throughout their lives.”
To donate, follow the link here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/843v3-afghanistan-orphanage