FGCU men’s basketball head coach reflects on Western Kentucky storms
LEE COUNTY, Fla .– Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball head coach Michael Fly woke up to an alarming text on Saturday morning.
“I woke up to a text from my wife to my mom saying ‘We have seen for the storms, is everyone okay? “said Fly.
Without warning, Fly learned that more than 50 reported tornadoes had ravaged the area of western Kentucky where he had grown up. The text message to his parents in Fulton, Ky., Went unanswered.
“It was definitely a stressful 24 hours,” said Fly.
At the time, Fly and the Eagles were on the road to prepare for a Saturday night game in Pittsburgh against Robert Morris. Fly said he hadn’t told his players about his parents, but keeping his mind on the game proved difficult as pictures and videos of the storm destruction began to surface.
“I tried not to think about that as much as possible,” said Fly.
Fly grew up in Fulton, Ky., A few miles away and in Mayfield County, where tornadoes wiped out most of the city. As Fly saw the destruction of the storms, he couldn’t look.
“I tried not to let it consume me because God forbid you see something you don’t want to see on TV or on the news,” he said.
Fly and his family spent more than a day trying to contact his parents in Fulton without success. Finally, good news has arrived at the Fly.
“I don’t even know who it was. I don’t know the person, but they have a relationship with my parents, drove into town, checked them out, and then posted on Facebook, ”Fly said.
So, at the very least, Fly knew his parents were safe, thanks to an unknown neighbor.
“It’s a really good portrayal of the state, is that people are trying to take care of people and trying to help them through difficult times,” Fly said.
With no electricity, no internet or no phone, Fly’s parents had to travel to the next town and finally give their son and grandson a call they were waiting for.
“It was nice to receive that phone call and to hear their voices,” said Fly.
The Eagles head coach said other than a loss of power, his parents’ home in Fulton was hardly affected by the storm. The same cannot be said of their neighbors down the street in Mayfield, however.
“It’s a sad situation all around, but I think there is an opportunity for people to show love and kindness to their neighbor,” Fly said.
And that’s exactly what Fly and a few swimmers from the Louisville FGCU are trying to do by mounting a disaster relief campaign.
Items such as toiletries, clothes, towels, socks and other items will be collected at Alico Arena on campus until next Tuesday before being donated to help Kentucky residents recover.