A good, warm coat can go a long way…

Published 10:59 pm Thursday, December 10, 2020

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On any given Thursday or Friday night during football season, one might find Ryan Witten on the sidelines of a TA Dugger or Elizabethton Cyclone football game getting the kids fired up about taking a win against an opponent.

But during this time of year, there is a different type of heat that Witten looks forward to bringing and that is the warmth of a jacket, coat, scarf, toboggan, or a pair of gloves to those that might not otherwise have that luxury.

One thing that Witten loves to instill into the players that he works with at Witten Huddle is the importance of giving back to the community and 2020 will mark the fourth year for the Witten Huddle Coat Drive.

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“This is perfect for Christmas,” said Witten about the drive. “We want to do a service project with our players.

“We really like for our guys to be able to hand out the donations but due to COVID, we won’t be able to do that this year.”

The project is in coordination with Kelly Geagley at the Elizabethton Housing Authority. In the past three years, a date had been set and Witten Huddle players along with Witten and his wife Kelly would deliver the coats.

This year, the donations will be dropped off and will be delivered by the administration of the Housing Authority according to Witten.

“It’s so rewarding,” Witten said. “Last year the first door we knocked on, a lady came to the door and we gave her a black jacket.

“She put the jacket on and told Kelly my wife that she felt like Marilyn Monroe. We also had an old Virginia Tech letterman jacket that Shawn (Witten) had given us that was too big for him and we gave that jacket to an older fellow and you should have seen the smile on his face.”

Witten said the effort was a little humble pie for him.

“I try to learn something about the kids and their life – like what their likes and dislikes are,” stated Witten. “There are people in our class and workplaces that need help. I don’t want us to forget who we are.

“Nobody likes to be cold and a good warm coat goes a long way.”

Witten urged all his players and the community to go through their closets and if they have any coats, jackets, scarves, toboggans, and gloves that they would like to donate that it is simple to do so.

Place the items in a plastic bag or box them up and take them by Saucey’s Pizza Barn, UPS Store, or Witten Huddle and Star Fitness and drop them off in the bins that have been placed there for dropoff.

Witten also stated that if someone wanted to donate but didn’t want to get out that he can be reached at 423-707-5419 and he or someone will come and pick up the items.

The last day to donate will be Tuesday, Dec. 22.

Witten said that people’s donations could be the difference in someone being able to experience Christmas joy this year.

“Some people don’t have a Christmas,” Witten commented. “We want to give them something to be proud of. It will help our kids feel good and you even better.”