Youth football player raises money for family who lost everything in a fire


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- The West Youth Rebels football game Saturday afternoon meant a lot to 8-year-old running back Nic Hodge and to the McClain family, watching from the stands. The McClains lost everything in recent house fire. The family of six - including three young children - is now living in a single hotel room.

"The fire came, and all of their toys got burned down and clothes. So I'm giving them new toys and clothes," said Hodge.

He did it through football. People could donate money to the family at the entrance, or pledge a certain amount for every touchdown or point he scored. His mom said Nic doesn't know the McClains personally, but as soon as she told him their story, he wanted to help.

"He wrote a letter to the family stating he was sorry this happened to them and he donated his tooth fairy money, which was the dollar he got from his last tooth," said Misty Hodge.

Nic's coaches were proud:

"Exactly what we ask for out of our youth. We really want them to exemplify out in the community what it means to be a Rebel. Show the community what it means to be a Rebel and really give back to the community," said assistant coach Paul Sheard.

And so was his mom.

"The fact that we don't know the family personally yet and that my son wants to help so much just amazes me. And I hope it continues to give our youth faith in doing the right thing just as communities," said Hodge.

In the end, another team member scored a touchdown and Nic made a two point conversion. The Rebels lost to Alcoa, but raised more than $1,000 for the McClain family at the gate.

The McClains said they're extremely grateful and touched by Nic's compassion.

If you'd like to help, you can send donations to:

Touchdowns for McClains, c/o Misty Hodge
PO Box 30054
Knoxville, TN 37930.

The Christian Academy of Knoxville is also starting a two week donation drive.

Any furniture or clothing donations will be stored at the West Youth Facility at Lakeshore Park. Contact West Youth President Nathan Meeks at 5908 Lyons View Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919.

Nic is planning to play for donations again on Monday, when the Rebels take on Austin East.


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