Boise State freshman linebacker Breydon Boyd turned off the TV this week while watching coverage of his hometown of Katy, Texas, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.
His childhood home west of Houston escaped the waterlogged fate that so many other houses in his town did not, but the dire situation some 1,700 miles away left him feeling helpless.
“I had a lot of friends I grew up playing football with in old Katy, and their houses did not make it through,” Boyd said. “... As of yesterday, I saw that a lot of my friends were on jet skis, a lot of them were on boats and a lot I still haven’t heard from, so I am just hoping that they are OK.
“That’s where I grew up. That’s where all my friends are. That’s where all my memories are. Just to see it completely torn literally apart, it just stinks.”
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With the Boise State football team set to open the 2017 season against Troy at 1:45 p.m. Saturday at Albertsons Stadium, there was no time for Boyd to go home to help in the relief effort.
So he and the Broncos found another way to lend a hand.
Boise State athletic teams, from football to volleyball to basketball, filled dozens of boxes with practice gear, clothes and shoes to send to the Houston area.
The football team shipped 12 boxes on Wednesday, and the men’s basketball team answered Houston coach Kelvin Sampson’s call for support on Monday with 20 T-shirts and 10 pairs of shoes.
“I feel like it’s so easy to donate to something like that because there’s a lot of people in need,” said Boise State redshirt junior forward Zach Haney, who is from Humble, which has had massive flooding just north of Houston. “It doesn’t have to be a crazy amount of money if you don’t have it. It could be 5 cents or 10 cents or $5, $10, it doesn’t matter. What you can give would be wonderful, and anything helps.”
Haney and teammate Alex Hobbs — a native of La Porte, which is right on Trinity Bay to the southeast of Houston — have family members who have spent the past few days mostly trapped because all roads in the area have been flooded. Haney’s father, Chuck, came to Boise to visit his son but hasn’t been able to return to Texas because the Houston airports have been closed.
Haney’s mom had to make it through the hurricane on her own.
“I’ve been talking to her every day. She had food in the house, but she said the Kroger and Walmart she went to before to get stuff, all the aisles were just ransacked, there was nothing in them,” Haney said. “There’s a Kroger real close to our house, and she said there was a line probably like an hour, two-hour wait just for food, because they were the only thing open.”
Both Haney and Hobbs said their houses weren’t damaged by Harvey, but each had previously experienced the devastation left behind after a hurricane.
“It’s kind of scary to think about that. The one place that you have that you know you’re safe, you know you can go home, and you’re not really safe there at the time,” said Hobbs, recalling Hurricane Ike in 2008, when his family had to evacuate. “It definitely takes a lot to come back from that. People still had blue tarps on their roof like two years later.”
The size-14 basketball shoes Haney donated won’t fix any leaky roofs, but they might restore a tiny sense of normalcy for some Houston-area kid with large feet.
“Anything to help out,” Haney said.