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Hale County football team visits nursing home

Ida Stockley, left, her daughter, Pam Stockley, and Raymond Collins, right, talk with Hale County running back Charles Yawn and linebacker Brett Nichols. (Photo by Staff photo | Michelle Lepianka Carter )

MOUNDVILLE | The Hale County Wildcats football team took time to visit residents at the Moundville Health and Rehabilitation Center on Wednesday evening. The players were greeted with smiles and hugs from the residents, who appreciated the team for coming out to spend some time with them.

Joey Milligan, the new head coach at Hale County, stressed the importance of the players visiting the senior citizens.

"We are trying to focus our players into becoming the complete person," Milligan said. "We’re trying to teach them more than football. We wanted to bring them here to this facility to get to say thanks to the people who paved the way for us and made it possible for us to do the things we do."

During the visit, the players and the residents watched the 2009 football film "The Blind Side" starring actress Sandra Bullock.

The players socialized with the residents, visiting some of them in their rooms and even being personal waiters by handing out popcorn along with other refreshments provided by the staff.

The team captains shared their personal gratitude during the visit.

"It feels good to give back (to the community)," said Grant Stevens, the Wildcats’ senior starting quarterback.

"It’s great to let them know that we appreciate them for what we are able to do every day," senior linebacker/fullback Jay Payne said.

"I’ve had two great grandmothers live here, and when I was younger I used to come here a lot, so I’m pretty comfortable here."

One of the players, senior linebacker Brett Nichols, has a grandmother, Ola Nichols, who is a resident at the facility.

"I get to visit my grandmother and meet new people all the time," he said. "They are all nice here, so it’s fun."

"It’s wonderful," the elder Nichols said. "My grandson is a good boy. He loves me."

Moundville mayor hopeful Tony Lester was also in attendance.

"The excitement and energy that Coach Milligan has brought already is showing around the school and in these kids," Lester said. "If you want the community to back the football program, the football program definitely has to give back to the community, and this is a great start. This ought to be a humble experience to take time out and watch a movie with those who are unable to be active in the community."