Hilton Head Island is among 23 high schools in the Carolinas selected to receive a share of $250,000 in disaster relief grants from the NFL’s Carolina Panthers to replace equipment and supplies lost when Hurricane Matthew struck the coastline two months ago.
Athletics director Joe Monmonier said the Seahawks received a $2,500 check from the club that will go toward replacing padding on blocking sleds and other equipment lost when Matthew hammered the Lowcountry on Oct. 8.
“It wasn’t crazy damage, but a significant amount,” Monmonier said. “We’re going to use it for equipment replacement, to replace the (linemen training) chutes and padding that we lost.”
Financial grants ranged from $2,500 to $20,000, based on greatest need. Though Hilton Head Island as a whole was devastated by thousands of fallen trees, the campus was largely spared. Other schools suffered more significant damage from flooding.
In all, awards went to 18 South Carolina schools and five from North Carolina.
“The Carolina Panthers hope this grant funding will enable schools and the communities they serve to return to a sense of normalcy,” said Riley Fields, the team’s director of community relations.
For the Seahawks, the grant was announced in the same week that the NFL club nominated coach B.J. Payne for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award.
This marks the second consecutive year that the Panthers have offered financial assistance to athletic departments impacted by natural disaster. It awarded another $250,000 last year to 19 high schools that suffered damage from flooding.
High School League commissioner Jerome Singleton called the Panthers “a prime example of character, sportsmanship and leadership.”
“It was just one year ago they jumped in with one question – ‘How can we help?’ – when the floodwaters devastated much of our state,” Singleton said in a statement. “The Panthers organization did not hesitate once again to assist our schools after Hurricane Matthew.”