Indians, Bulldogs join forces to help BC disaster relief

Published 6:34 pm Wednesday, October 1, 2008

It’s that nutty week again — Mid-County Madness — and quite a few area football fans privately wonder which team this writer likes best.

If you survey Nederlanders, the answer will be Port Neches-Groves, for sure. Halliburton must bleed purple. If you survey PN-G purple people, the answer will be that Bubba definitely is a Bulldog.

Both are wrong. Asking me to identify my favorite Mid-County High School is the equivalent of asking me to identify my favorite child. My daughters are Kelli and Sara and I like ’em both the same.

So I don’t wear black, gold, purple or white to a PN-G at Nederland game. I usually wear a neutral red shirt with blue jeans and refrain from any cheering in either press box.

Until this week, though, my red shirt usually has been the only one at the Mid-County matchup. Red shirts may even be the prevalent attire this Saturday night at 7:30 in Bulldog Stadium.

Mid-County Kindness will kickoff about 10:30. after Mid-County Madness winds down. Mid-County Kindness is an unselfish southeast Texas project that welcomes everyone. Beaumonters and Port Arthurans will be welcome with open arms, just the same.

The idea is lend a hand to our battered neighbor across the bridge. More than 20 years ago, Bob West assigned me to start crossing the bridge and getting acquainted with Bridge City football. My wife Donna and I returned to the high school last Saturday night with clothes in our arms to donate to the Orange County clothing drive.

If you have seen the streets of Bridge City, if you have looked at the houses and businesses in and around BC, you have witnessed Hurricane Ike at its worst. The Redbirds suffered a worse loss than West Orange-Stark or the Dallas Cowboys could inflict upon them.

Some near and dear friends lost everything, such as current Beaumont Kelly assistant Richard Bethea — a former assistant coach at both PN-G and Bridge City.

There are not enough adjectives and descriptions available to quite cover this subject, even though my eyes are familiar with the current appearances around Texas Ave. and Roundbunch Road. The main roads are bad enough but they are masking the severe residential damage on so many of the backstreets.

Bridge City is only 10 miles northeast of Port Arthur. If you live in Port Arthur or Mid-County and you own property with a relatively small amount of damage, think how close you came to being a lot worse off. Seventy to eighty percent of Bridge City’s property owners weren’t quite so lucky.

But you can help them. All of Southeast Texas can. Teams of volunteers will assist Bridge City this Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Each person should wear long pants (comfy blue jeans is a good idea) with thick gloves. Chainsaws, hammers, shovels, wheelbarrows, and insect repellant are recommended. Plus your own drinks and lunches.

If you’re below the teenage level, you probably need your parents’ permission to get involved but there will be masks and information packets handed out at designated gathering points in and around Bridge City.

If you need further directions, log onto — or contact Chris or Chera Latiolais at 962-2009 or 289-2015.

“We hope everyone in Mid-County can put teams together and help each other go across the bridge,” Port Neches mayor Glenn Johnson said. “It will all be done according to team specialties.”

My football subject for today — Nederland offensive tackle Stefan Huber — is a perfect example of the Mid-County interest and concern for Bridge City.

Huber is a major leader on Larry Neumann’s Bulldogs squad. Stefan has an aunt, an uncle and cousins who live in Bridge City. Their names are Keith and Kimberly Wehmeyer. Stefan and his parents — Tighe and Carolyn Huber — have been across the bridge to observe and involve themselves in the cleanup effort too.

Mid-County Kindness was on Huber’s mind on Wednesday afternoon. Even though Stefan will be driving off the ball as hard as he can against those purple helmets Saturday night.

“The Wehmeyers, their house got flooded,” Huber said. “It’s a terrible thing. It’s really great that people are trying to pitch in and help.”

It’s all about doing something for your neighbor, your friend, your family relative. If you have a problem, would you welcome their help? Bridge City will welcome all the help that Mid-County can provide this Sunday.

This is an urgent need for some BC residents. People from Port Neches, Nederland and Groves can argue about football and athletic supremacy all they want, but they can do something vital for their neighbor on Sunday.

How do I feel about the Bulldogs and Indians? Matt Burnett and Larry Neumann are both long-time friends of mine and proven champions in coaching, raising men and playing the game of life. Who do I want to win on Saturday night? I don’t have a preference.

If they all can get together, pitch in and help Bridge City, they win an even larger and more important pot of gold than a football game.

Tom Halliburton is a Port Arthur News columnist.

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