Coach, athletes flood ravaged community with donations
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
The storms and floods that ravaged southeastern Minnesota in August 2007 hit close to home for St. Cloud State University softball coach Paula U’Ren, whose parents have lived in the hard-hit town of Rushford since 1995.
“The entire area where my parents live was hit very hard by the floods, and there was a great need for basic resources to make it through a very tough time,” U’Ren said.
In an effort to help the cause in southeastern Minnesota, U’Ren was the driving force behind a St. Cloud State drive to collect household and personal supplies to assist victims of the August floods. In addition, school supplies were collected for the area’s children since many would soon be starting the new academic year without the basics for those first days of school.
U’Ren and members of her softball team collected supplies at a Huskies home volleyball game and donations at a Husky football game.
The two donation events helped generate two truckloads of supplies that included a wide range of items such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, paper towels, school supplies and cash donations. The St. Cloud State athletic department also donated a supply of fleece Husky sweatshirts for flood victims.
U’Ren then drove the supplies to Rochester, where she met up with her father to transfer the supplies. She was unable to drive directly to Rushford since access to the town was still closed due to flood damage. U’Ren’s father brought the supplies to St. Joseph’s Church in Rushford, which served as a Red Cross distribution point.
“I was very impressed by the outpouring of support and donations from St. Cloud State and the community,” U’Ren said. “Athletic administrators and staff and our student-athletes were very willing to help and were so supportive of this cause.
“St. Cloud State really reached out to a community in need, and helped them make it through a tough time. I know the people down in the Rushford area really appreciated the help and assistance as they worked to rebuild.”
U’Ren will begin her 11th season at St. Cloud State in 2008. Her squads have compiled an overall record of 400-178 since 1998 and have captured three NCC titles during that time. A six-time National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament qualifier, U’Ren’s 2004 squad placed third in the nation at the Division II championships.