After the Washoe County School District inspector deemed Sparks High School football helmets unfit for use, the Sparks High School Railroaders had to come up with $6,000 in funds to replace the helmets that have aged out (17 helmets now and 24 next year, 41 helmets total).
The Railroaders began planning its fundraising efforts in April and hosted an event at Mummers on May 5, generating about $6,000 at that event alone and reaching their goal. However, word quickly around the community about the Railroaders needing funds and donations have continued pouring in. To date, the Railroaders have received almost $50,000 to help fund its football program for the next few years thanks to numerous individual donations and monetary gifts from Reno/Sparks businesses.
Sparks High School Alumni contributed $15,000 alone (the Glover Foundation pitched in $10,000), followed by residents who had no apparent connection to the high school but just simply wanted to support the community.
“We’ve still been getting donations, there is money coming in every other day,” says Railroaders football coach Brad Rose.
“There’s a lot more excitement in the school, our football players can tell what is happening. We have been behind in football technology- they see it in the other teams we play, so now that they see the community supporting them there is a lot more energy and excitement on the field. The gravity of being a Railroader is definitely up and we’re all really looking forward to the season,” Rose says. He relayed that the outpouring of community support will definitely play a role in its football programs succeeding this year.
Some of the Railroaders major contributors have been Les Schwab ($6,000), Western Nevada Supply ($1,000), Fireplace Distributors of Nevada ($1,000), Walmart ($1,000), Sierra Air ($1,000), and several thousand dollars from private donations. Recently, Reno Dodge just donated a Fiat to the football program which will be raffled off at the first Railroaders’ home game on Aug. 31.
“We’re selling just 500 tickets for the Fiat to give people a decent chance to win it from now until August 31. They’re $50 a piece so they will go fast,” Rose says.
Along with being extremely grateful to the Reno/Sparks community, Rose adds, “We want our kids to understand the magnitude of this, so if anyone needs any help with special projects then please reach out to me. Whatever we can to give back to the community we will do it”.