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'The higher purpose this year is to help,' UK volleyball team heads to help with flood relief

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Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-12 18:13:13-04

JACKSON, Ky. (LEX 18) — They’re part of a national title-winning program, but on Friday, the UK volleyball team switched their focus from serves to service.

Their signature blue bus parked outside of the First Church of God in Jackson, and the team volunteered to aid in flood recovery efforts.

“We just felt that the best way that we could help was by being here and getting on a bus and coming down,” said head coach Craig Skinner.

Donations for eastern Kentucky are steadily flowing, but manual labor is in short supply. Wrapping up their summer workouts, the UK volleyball team is in prime shape for supporting flood recovery.

“We’re a team, and when we put our mind to something we’re gonna get it done,” said sophomore libero and Louisville native Eleanor Beavin. “We’re in there organizing super-fast, we’ve been working out all summer so we’re able to lift everything and it’s been nice because some of these people right now can’t do that, so we’re taking it out to their cars, anything we can do to help make the operation smoother.”

Stacking the supplies that are now piling up in the church gym, Beavin told LEX18 about the special connection team members have with the area.

“We host camps in the summer, and a lot of Breathitt County schools come to camps, so we knew some of the girls, so the fact that they’re going through this hardship right now means a lot that we’re able to come down and help,” said Beavin.

For high school players and others in town, spending the day off the court goes a long way.

“It’s so wonderful because you don’t see the youth anymore doing that, and I think it’s showing the impact on people's hearts and their compassion for people,” said resident Frances Gonzalez.

Today their assignment is sacrifice, and their reps are in the form of relief. When the last whistle blows, that’s what really matters.

“We've always recruited to try to win championships and be the best, but we also want to be a program that has a bigger purpose,” said Skinner. “The higher purpose this year is to help the people of eastern Kentucky and do what we can to help our players understand that life is way bigger than a game.”

After volunteering, the team held an open practice at the Breathitt High School gym for the community and area teams to enjoy.

UK will host Marquette in the season opener on Friday, August 26th.