Crimson Cliffs football team helps clean out basement of flood-damaged home following severe storm

ST. GEORGE — Monday afternoon, one day after widespread flooding from Sunday night’s storm hit several areas of St. George, the Crimson Cliffs High School football team showed up in full force to help the grandparents of one of their teammates.

Around 9:30 p.m. Sunday, floodwaters broke through the basement windows of the home of Dan and LeAnne Hoopes at 647 E. 550 South Circle, St. George.

The Hoopes’ son-in-law Logan Aitken, who also lives at the home with his wife Shellee and their children, told St. George News he had been watching a Utah Jazz game on TV when the storm hit.

Suddenly, Logan Aitken said, water came pouring through the window wells, breaking the windows and sending a torrent of water that quickly flooded the entire basement.

“In a matter of minutes, the whole thing was just filled with water,” he said.

Fortunately, nobody was injured, and the residents of the home were all safely upstairs before 6 feet of water eventually filled every room in the basement.

Crimson Cliffs football player Kason Hoopes shows how high the flood waters reached in his grandparents’ basement, St. George, Utah, Aug. 24, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

“We were so incredibly grateful that the kids got out,” said LeAnne Hoopes, who added that the damage to their home and loss of belongings seems inconsequential by comparison.

“It’s just stuff,” she said.

The next day, another of the Hoopes’ grandchildren, Kason Hoopes, a senior tight end for the Crimson Cliffs Mustangs, enlisted the support of his football coaches and teammates to help provide the muscle and manpower needed to clean out all the ruined belongings from his grandparents’ basement.

“Today I got a message from one of our senior football players asking for some help,” Crimson Cliffs head coach Jaron Tate told St. George News at the scene. “Kason Hoopes sent me a text message saying, ‘Hey, we’ve been working all day trying to help my grandparents dig themselves out of the flood last night.'”

“I got hold of our coaches and all of our players, and we really wanted to do what we could or see what we could do to help out,” Tate said. “It ended up being a lot bigger job than we originally expected.”

“Credit to our young men, they showed up in droves and really worked hard to dig out and clean up as much as they could,” he said as his players continued to fill three large waste containers in the middle of the cul-de-sac with furniture, appliances, carpeting, and household items. Others shoveled mud and debris or helped sort through items to see if there was anything salvageable.

Crimson Cliffs football players help with the cleanup of the flood-damaged home belonging to a teammate’s grandparents, St. George, Utah, Aug. 24, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

“We’re excited to serve anybody,” Kason Hoopes said as he worked alongside several of his teammates in the basement. “We’re looking to help out the community.”

Nearly every player on Crimson Cliffs’ 60-man roster along with several members of the coaching staff showed up to help, Tate said.

“We decided to treat it like practice,” he added, noting that his players had their temperatures checked and social distancing was encouraged when possible.

“First things first, we wanted to make sure that our kids are safe,” Tate said. “But then we just treated it like practice. Our coaches are here, our players are here. We’re having fun, working hard, getting a workout in, and it’s a credit to how hard our young men work.”

Tate noted that the Mustangs are just coming off a tough 36-0 home loss to Lehi last Friday night.

“We fought hard, and it was a tough game,” he said. “They were really big and really strong. We played our best and our kids didn’t complain once about it.”

The Mustangs didn’t second-guess the decision to participate in the service project instead of holding practice after school, the coach added.

“They just wanted to know the address so they could get here and help out,” Tate said.

Crimson Cliffs football players help with the cleanup of the flood-damaged home belonging to a teammate’s grandparents, St. George, Utah, Aug. 24, 2020 | Photo by Jeff Richards, St. George News

“That’s a credit to the young men, but also to their parents and what they’ve done to teach and instill some of those attributes of giving and caring for others.”

Crimson Cliffs has a bye this coming Friday, after which they’ll host Cedar in the Region 9 regular season opener on Sept. 4.

“Sometimes there’s things more important than football … and being able to help one another out is definitely one of those things,” Tate said. “We concern ourselves about raising young men before we raise football players, and this was just an opportunity for our young men to learn service and to put others needs in front of our own.”

LeAnne Hoopes said she and her family are “extremely grateful” for the football team’s assistance and support. She also thanked the numerous other volunteers who’ve helped, including friends, neighbors and family members.

“Today, to see this is just incredibly overwhelming,” she said. “It’s the Dixie spirit.”

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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