If you attended Thursday night's Broken Bow football game against Cozad, you may have noticed the new helmets. They still display the red double B insignia that numerous Broken Bow athletes have worn proudly, however this Broken Bow squad was wearing brand-new Zenith football helmets funded by an extensive fundraising drive created by the grandparents of the Broken Bow community.
Bev Reynolds, chairman of the Grandparents for Helmets campaign, heard of a group of individuals who raised money in Holdrege and thought, “Why can’t we do that here?”
Reynolds, alongside 10 grandparents of Broken Bow students, created the Grand-parents for Helmets campaign and almost immediately started to collect donations from members of the community, and organized various fundraisers over a two-month period to achieve their goal.
The primary reason to start the campaign was to protect the health of students participating in football.
“You can’t put a price on the health of our children,” Reynolds said. “If the new helmets can reduce the chance of concussions and other serious injuries, then you can’t put a price on it.”
When Reynolds was conducting the fundraisers, she was pleased to see the support within the community.
“The support has been great from the start,” Reynolds said. “At first when we started the fundraiser there were questions as to whether we could raise the funds. Fortunately, Broken Bow and the community stepped forward to support the project. It makes me proud.”
The goal was to generate funds to purchase 80 Zenith helmets for the middle school and high school. A brand new Zenith football helmet costs $300. Add it all up and that comes to more than $24,000.
When Activities Director Ryan Hogue was approached by members of the grandparents’ organization he was thrilled.
“When I was first approached by the committee I thought it was a great idea,” Hogue said. “It’s always great to see parents and grandparents involved in extracurricular activities. But it’s even more special when you see a group of people care about the health of students.”
Hogue believed the grandparents would raise the funds in time. But his jaw hit the ground when he was told they generated more than $20,000 in just one month.
“When I was told that they reached $20,000 in just four weeks, I was amazed,” Hogue said. “I’m grateful the grandparents took the time to put their campaign together. The Zenith helmet is one of the best out there. The fact we could give a quality helmet to every student, that’s awesome. There’s no team in the area that can say that, we are truly blessed.”
Broken Bow Head Coach Mike Garner says his kids love the new helmets and he’s happy that the fund-raiser was a success.
“The kids really like the new helmets. The helmets take a little getting used to at first because the fit is different from any other helmet I’ve ever seen, but once they get used to them, they really like them,” Garner said. “I think it’s special that a group of grandparents got together and raised the money for these helmets, and I think it is a testament to what is really good about places like Broken Bow. In a place like Lincoln or Omaha, I don’t think a project like this would have ever have gotten off the ground, too much red tape, too many people wanting to be in charge.”
The grandparents goal was 80 helmets. The grandparents exceeded their goal by $1,500 and were able to order five more helmets.