Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

An emotional moment - two communities bonded


Michele Daum

Kimball teacher Jeri Ferguson receives a big hug from Hershey player Paige Larchick, as the Hershey team and their coach smile and approve during a post game presentation of appreciation.

An emotional event took place following the Kimball and Hershey girl's basketball game in Hershey this past Friday evening. Following the game, which Kimball won 44-38, Hershey coach and Activities Director, Jeremy Thomas, with microphone in hand went to mid-court and asked the fans if they would please remain seated. He then asked members of both teams to join him at mid-court, along with the coaches, and a special invite to Kimball teacher Jeri Ferguson.

This event all relates back to one year ago when Mrs. Ferguson spearheaded a drive to raise funds to help the family of a young Hershey girl, Paige Larchick, who was fighting for her life and battling cancer. Going back even farther, at the football game in Hershey earlier that fall, Kimball fans passed the hat and raised some money for the same cause.

At the Kimball-Hershey girl's basketball game one year back at Kimball, the Kimball community raised in excess of $2800 which they presented to coach Thomas and his team at the conclusion of that game, won by Hershey. It was pay-back time, and this was much more special as Paige was in attendance at this meeting, in uniform, and playing for the Lady Panthers. Coach Thomas informed the crowd of what had happened the previous year at Kimball, and then the hugs began. First a big team hug with all players, coaches, and Ferguson joining in a large circle, then the individual hugs by everyone with Miss Larchick making sure she hugged each and every Kimball coach, player, and Ferguson.

With tears turning to smiles, the players all heard Thomas inform them that the mothers of the Hershey players had prepared soup to feed all of them, including the boys, after their game was completed, and he looked towards the Kimball boys who were waiting in the door way to warm up for their contest. No one left hungry.

For a period of time, the outcome of the game, and the final score, was secondary to the love and appreciation displayed by everyone involved. It was even more special at this special time of the year. It was players, coaches, and community members coming together to bond over the serious illness of a special young lady, and the final outcome was one that will bond these two communities for many years, and maybe forever. It truly was an emotional happening!


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