Jenks track athletes sell shirts for Moore families
When Brooke Twiehaus heard the news, the feeling was all too familiar.
Six Moore High School track athletes were struck by a drunk driver during practice Feb. 3. Max Leroy Townsend was driving a pickup truck that allegedly reached speeds of 78 miles per hour when he struck the six student-athletes according to the Oklahoman, killing two and a third who passed away over the weekend. The posted speed limit was 25 miles per hour.
The lives of Rachel Freeman, 17, Yuridia Martinez, 16, and Kolby Crum were lost in the tragedy, a feeling Twiehaus and the Jenks track program know all to well.
Twiehaus was a sophomore when the program lost one of their own teammates in a car wreck. She saw the outpour of support from the community at that time and hoped they would have their backs once again.
“Whenever we lost our teammate, our team was devastated,” Twiehaus said. “Seeing the community help us was comforting to know that more than just us cared and wanted to have that support. Having that experience made me want to help them even more.”
Twiehaus, now a senior, and her friend and teammate Megan Tibbett knew they needed to do something to help out the families affected. They came up with the idea of selling a T-shirt.
Twiehaus came up with a slogan, “Running is Moore than a race, it’s family,” and Tibbett drew an illustration to best describe the slogan. The shirts went on sale on Custom Ink and all proceeds will go to the families affected by the incident.
In just one week, they’ve sold over 375 shirts and raised over $3,000. If you would like to purchase and shirt or donate to the cause, you can in the link provided: https://www.customink.com/fundraising/MooreHighSchoolAccident?side=back&type=1&zoom=false&fbclid=IwAR3GO2nW9n_ywSquCJXC8gEhiXXn0a1epQkci0gat4RHcrNlGhburpd8nes
When they originally launched the shirts, their goal was to sell 50 but within hours the first day, they broke 100. With seven days left, their new goal of 500 looks attainable.
“I wasn’t sure what I was expecting,” Twiehaus said. “I figured we’d raise quite a bit of money just because our track team is large and we can promote it pretty well. The response has been amazing to see not only from Jenks but people from all over Oklahoma and even some people in Missouri have bought shirts.”
Ask any track and field athlete and they’ll tell you that the sport attracts camaraderie. Both Twiehaus and Tibbett expressed that during the season they get to know those they compete against whether they’re near the Tulsa area or not.
That’s why, when they heard about it, there was no doubt they needed to do somehting.
“We just really wanted to help,” Tibbett said. “When something bad like this happens, we have to come together and help each other.”
And they aren’t the only ones that are helping.
The Union High School track team are selling bracelets with six red beads for each student struck in the accident with a blue string for the school colors.
The track community around the state are mourning the loss of the three. Knowing it could happen to any of them makes it even more real.
“It’s scary to know that could happen to any track team or anybody running on the street,” Tibbett said. “It’s really scary, it’s a very real thing to happen. It could have happened to us and we would want someone to react this way if that did happen.”