PEORIA, Ill. — From winning championships last weekend to having to completely rebuild, a local youth football program is devastated after losing nearly everything.
Parents and organizers are looking for answers after their shed was severely damaged.
The program had just come off a huge weekend, winning four championships across the board.
Now they are looking to pick up all the pieces.
A whole season’s hard work has been tarnished after someone drove their vehicle through the Woodruff JFL shed.
Director of the program Vanessa Farrahar was at the shed, located at Von Steuben Middle School behind the Peoria Public Schools Administration Building, picking up rubble from the crash.
“We got a call about 8 o’clock saying someone drove through our building. Came here and it’s all destroyed. Everything that we have,” Farrahar said.
Farrahar says the kids have worked so hard all season and she can barely believe this happened.
“We serve 200 kids out of this program. We struggle already. We’re one of the poorest programs in the area. To see that we have to start over, it hurts. It hurts a lot,” Farrahar said.
Both Farrahar and coach Antonio Brooks say this program is a family.
“Seeing the parents come out and the coaches come out this early in the morning, it goes to show we’re more than a program,” Farrahar said.
“Our slogan is one family, one program. And them coming out here really shows that today,” Farrahar added.
“It’s the most positive program that I know of in our local area for our community,” said coach Brooks.
Coach Brooks says the kids were on cloud nine after winning four championships this weekend, and now the program has to start all over.
“To come to our shed on a Tuesday and see all our trophies completely broke, our pads, our football helmets completely demolished, our refrigerators everything demolished. Our shed is just gone. It’s completely devastating. It’s not fair to our children,” Coach Brooks said.
And now parents like Cheryl McGloson have to tell their kids their trophies are now meer rubble.
“We were just here yesterday turning in equipment and just to come back and see this in the morning is devastating,” McGloson said.
But this isn’t the end for Woodruff JFL.
“Where do we go from here? We’re gonna try to rebuild, get some donations from our community, and do what we can,” coach Brooks said.
“That’s us. We set back and we come back stronger than ever,” said Farrahar.
Peoria Police Department Public Information Officer Amy Dotson says traffic investigators went to the scene at 8:30 Tuesday morning.
The crash is still under investigation.
WMBD’s Matt Sheehan spoke with Zo Evans, Executive Director of JFL of Central Illinois, who says Peoria Police located the owner of the vehicle that drove into the shed.
Evans says the owner of the vehicle was not the one behind the wheel, and they, and their family, never had any connection to JFL.
Evans adds he spoke with Peoria Public Schools officials who say a tow truck company came around 1:30 a.m.
Evans said the vehicle was a Chevy truck.
Evans adds whether it be from league insurance of the vehicle owner’s car insurance, the Woodruff JFL program will not be out any money and the shed, and everything in it will be repaired and replaced.
If you’d like to donate to Woodruff JFL, they have set up a GoFundMe. You can find the link here.