JACKSON, Tenn. – Aug. 22, 2005 – By doing yard work and other odd jobs around the Jackson community Aug. 19, Union University’s men’s soccer team raised nearly $2,000 for the family of a recent Union graduate whose mother was killed in a car wreck.
“We actually did more work than I thought we could in one day,” said Coach Darin White.
The soccer team called off practices to work around the community in return for donations for the family of Titus Bartos, a native of Romania who graduated from Union in May. Bartos was to be married Aug. 13, but his mother, Maria, died Aug. 10 from injuries sustained in an automobile accident.
Bartos’ five siblings weren’t planning to make the trip for his wedding, but they decided to come to the United States for their mother’s funeral, held Aug. 20 in Atlanta. Bartos and his wife, Laura, were married the following day.
All the money raised by the soccer team will go to help with travel costs for the family. White said the team completed 33 projects and some donations were still coming in through the mail. He said the total amount could reach $2,000.
“That’s pretty exciting, because we didn’t expect to raise anywhere near that,” said sophomore soccer player Michael Pugh.
Pugh said the soccer team’s efforts were a benefit for the school and the community, as well as within the soccer team itself. Many found the experience important in their own spiritual journeys.
“Not only did we use it as an outreach to help (Titus), but we used it as an outreach to help our own team,” Pugh said.
Jackson resident Melba Young heard about the soccer team’s plans on TV, so she called White to arrange to have work done at her home.
“I really wanted to help the family, but I also wanted my flower bed cleaned out,” she said.
White said he had received an e-mail from Bartos thanking the team for their work on behalf of his family. White was going to read the message to the entire team at their next practice.
White added that while he is happy for the help his team was able to provide to the Bartos family, “We actually ended up receiving a major blessing out of it as well.”