CLARKS SUMMIT — The Iron Comets training team, consisting mainly of Abington Heights football players, began as an offseason conditioning program but quickly became much more.
The student-athletes select a different local charity or event to support through a service project during nine months of the year.
The team, which meets three times each weeks, begins each session with a physical workout then transitions into discussing what they’re doing to help the community.
During November, the group conducted a cleanup at the St. Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen in Scranton.
In December, they organized a coat and blanket drive throughout the Abingtons. Team members will deliver the donated goods to the Women’s Resource Center, St. Francis of Assisi Soup Kitchen and Geno J. Merli Veterans’ Center, all in Scranton.
They plan to donate socks to the Geno Merli Veterans’ Center in January and volunteer at the Griffin Pond Animal Shelter, in South Abington Township, during the month of February.
According to Abington Heights assistant football coach Rob Hivner, the service projects have proved to be a rewarding experience for the players.
“They’ve found that something amazing happens when you give to people who can’t give back,” Hivner said.
Although the students have busy schedules, Abington Heights junior Colin McCreary believes it’s important to make sacrifices for the good of the community.
“You can always make time for others who may be less fortunate than you,” he said. “I think it’s great that our team has come together to do it.”
Junior Ryan Harvey enjoys spending time with friends while making a positive impact on people’s lives in the process.
“I don’t feel like it’s a job, it just feels natural being with my teammates and helping people who really need it,” Harvey said. “It makes the whole team feel great because it’s bigger that any one of us. We’re working together for a bigger cause.”
Reach Robert Tomkavage at 570-704-3941 or on Twitter @rtomkavage.