Wood Memorial basketball bonds helping homeless

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The often forgotten in Evansville get a hand up Thursday, thanks to a group of guys from Gibson County. The homeless and needy get a little warmer, and a basketball teams gets a little closer.

“We come down every year after early practice, we come down and help people in need.”

Wood Memorial High School, senior forward, Walker Nurrenbern says it’s time well spent at United Caring Shelter.

Whether it’s the game of basketball, or the game of life, there’s a lot to gain by helping others. The team isn’t scoring buckets or collecting rebounds. It’s nothing but dishing out assist after assist.

“It’s just a great opportunity for our guys to appreciate what they have,” says head coach, Kevin Menke. “One of my favorite sayings is, when you help someone else you help yourself.”

Words of wisdom that applies just as much on the court as it does off. “We’re working together in a different way and it helps us out,” says Menke.

It is an annual trip Wood Memorial basketball makes this time of year to help less those less fortunate, and bring the team together.

Austin Ireland, the team’s senior center, says it helps them bond. “It’s just a way to give back,” he says. “We’re so blessed to help out, it really feels good.”

The shelter serves 350 meals a day with breakfast, lunch, and dinner and it’s all prepared by volunteers.

While the temperatures remain below freezing, UCS and other shelters will have a white flag, meaning anyone can come in to stay warm.

There’s a lot to gain by helping others, and helping others can only help them grow.

“I hope that when they’re in this situation of leadership they lead this way as well,” Menke says, “the rest of their life with their families and everything they do.”

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(This story was originally published December 28, 2017)

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