PCC Beaver student-athletes give back to the community through service

If you’re like me, one of the things you look forward to every year as a resident of Pratt is the pleasure of enjoying the holiday splendor that is Lemon Park Lights. Lemon Park Lights is another one of those things we have here that makes Pratt such a wonderful, special place to live. Of course, it takes the involvement of many, many people in the community to make it work. I’m sure everyone realizes that to be able to put on such a display FOR FREE, it takes volunteerism among many segments of Prattans. There is, however, one group of Prattans that, until recently, I didn’t realize played such an important role. Last fall, there was discussion around the Tribune office about the reported decline in the amount of court-ordered community service that was being actually served (whether that’s true, I don’t know), and how that might impact such things as Lemon Park Lights. At a wedding reception recently, I happened to be seated next to Ron Miller, one of the long-time ramrods of the LPL set-up. I asked how things were going on getting ready for the display this year, in light of the alleged decline in court-ordered community-service assistance. “We’ve been working on it for a couple of months now,” he said. “Checking light-bulbs and so on. I’ve been getting some really good help.” “Yeah,” he continued. “The juco athletes have been doing a really good job for us.” Who knew PCC kids were helping prep the LPL displays? I sure didn’t. Maybe everyone else but me did, but I doubt it. Considering that Lemon Park Lights has more bulbs than the Griswold’s house, it has to be a time-intensive, labor-intensive job to check them all before the displays are put up. But that’s what Pratt Community College Beavers on the women’s basketball and baseball teams have been doing with some of their spare time. Their help in getting the LPL ready for display has been described as “invaluable.” Women’s basketball also helped with the Southwest School Carnival and men’s baseball also helped set up the Halloween Spook Train. Those two aren’t the only PCC teams that are involved in community service. Under the leadership of Athletic Director Kurt McAfee and the coaching staff, the PCC athletic department has made it a point of emphasis to give back to the community. According to figures provided by PCC, Beaver athletes racked up a total of 2297.5 hours of community service in just the past two semesters. A brief listing of projects the other Beaver athletes have been involved with: The Men’s Basketball team was active in the Lil’ Buddies Program at Pratt Middle School and assisted with the MS Bike Ride. The PCC Track team helped with both Pratt High and Skyline’s Cross Country Meets. The Cheer Squad put on the Little Beaver Cheer Clinic. The Wrestling team helped several individuals in the community load their belongings for their move and were involved in numerous clean-up projects around PCC and the city of Pratt. Women’s Soccer helped with the watermelon feed and served as referees for the youth soccer program here in Pratt. Men’s Soccer helped with the Relay for Life and also assisted in several cleanup projects on campus and around the area. Softball decorated the Spook Train and helped with the serving of the Community Thanksgiving Dinner and the Rotary Valentine dinner. Volleyball helped with the chamber of Commerce dinner and helped to pack and move a PCC employee. So, it is apparent that student-athletes at Pratt Community College appreciate the opportunity that the taxpayers of Pratt County are providing them with. “If you talk to the student-athletes,” said Kim Cromer, administrative assistant to the athletic director, “they will tell you that it is the people of this community that make them feel like Pratt is their ‘home away from home’.” Through their service, the student-athletes of PCC are trying to give back a portion of what is given to them by this community while they are here at Pratt Community College. If you haven’t been to any PCC games recently, why don’t you think about taking in some? It is true that most of the PCC student-athletes didn’t grow up in Pratt, but they conduct themselves as constructive citizens, as productive Prattans, for the two years that they are here. If you don’t feel like going to any games, that’s fine, but you should at least be aware that the Beaver student-athletes aren’t just out there free-riding. The Beavers give back.