Ohio Task Force 1 and our Gabrielle Enright are based out of Dalton’s old high school in Katy, Texas.
That was the sentiment each player expressed, that they were thankful their own families are safe but hurting for the others who are in danger.
“Our house is fine, so that’s a blessing,” Iloka said. “They can’t get out. Streets getting in and out are three or four feet deep, but the house itself is fine. But I know a lot of people can’t say that. Some people lost their lives.”
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The players said it’s been tough to watch the events unfold on television while they’re a couple thousand miles away.
“It’s a bad deal when you see an area that you’re familiar with getting flooded out,” Jackson said. “I’m just praying for the city.”
While it might seem as though playing games, as the team did Sunday afternoon at Washington and will again Thursday night at Indianapolis, would help keep the players’ minds off the trouble at home. That’s actually been one of the hardest parts.
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“Game day is especially tough,” Bullock said. “I’m trying to stay in touch with my family and make sure everything is good, and then you have that several hours without correspondence to make sure everybody’s OK. But I was able to touch base with them after the game, and all was good. We’re lucky.”
Bullock said his mother evacuated ahead of the storm because her house is in an area prone to flooding. She’s staying at his house with his girlfriend.
One of the players in constant contact with friends at home is LaFell. He’s close with DJ Mr. Rogers and Shane McGrady, the brother of former NBA star Tracy McGrady, and they’re leading a group that is traveling the city in large trucks to deliver food and water and help with evacuations.
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“I’m constantly texting my mom, calling my friends asking what more I can do because it’s hurting my heart that I’m here and I can’t get home and check on my home, check on my family, check on my friends,” LaFell said. “I’ve been getting texts and calls from people around league asking if there’s a foundation you’re donating to, what can I do right now to help out? I just tell them I’ve got friends with trucks driving around the city trying to help people, that’s who I’m sending my money to.
“I can send my money to Red Cross, but it’s going to take a couple days for people to get that,”he added. “I’ve got friends there moving around right now that can get some people, so that’s who I’m donating all my money to.”