Jeff Fleetwood (pictured) helped the Hawks raise money at Relay for Life on Sept. 21

Feb. 19, 2013

PRINCESS ANNE, Md. - While the offseason may seem like a time of relaxation for some, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore baseball kept itself busy by working in the community. These student-athletes have bettered the community over the past sixth months as the team participated in five different goodwill projects. Although the target was to offer a helping hand, the players learned a lot about themselves as well.

The team began the community service projects with a street sweep. The entire team spent several hours cleaning and picking up trash around UMES and on College Backbone Road. The Hawks would go on to Manokin Park, where they cleaned the park, raked leaves and planted flowers. The men ended the day by helping build benches and fire pits for the park.

The Hawks participated in Relay for Life on Friday, Sept 21. The team went over to Arthur W. Perdue Stadium from 8-10 p.m., where they gathered together to meet those stricken with cancer and to celebrate the lives of people who had passed from the disease. Never short of comedy, junior Jeffrey Fleetwood dressed up as a drag queen for a contest and collected money from the audience for breast cancer awareness.

"We volunteered with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and stayed most of the night," said senior catcher Brandon Schott. "We had to do so many laps throughout that time. It meant a lot to work at the event because I have had some family members pass away because of cancer."

A group of players ventured out to the Maryland Food Bank of the Eastern Shore on Nov. 15 to help pack and prepare Thanksgiving dinners for the less fortunate. The community appearance was the first of three holiday events that the Hawks participated in as they worked Operation Teddy Bear on December 1 and Angel Tree later in the month.

For Operation Teddy Bear, the whole team was on hand to help out at the Holly Center in Salisbury. The team helped load and unload the handicapped onto tracker trailers. Participants in the event were put on the tracker trailers so they could go on a trip around Salisbury.

"It was a really cool experience," said senior starting pitcher Jesus Hernandez. "We helped several disabled children get on and off the bus. It makes you appreciate what you have. It was a great team bonding event too."

The team concluded their goodwill effort with the help of the Angel Tree drive. Players on the team helped raise $100 so they could give presents to a local five-year old boy. The money was used to buy shirts, pants, pajamas, socks and toys. UMES also presented the young boy with an autographed ball signed by all the Hawk players.

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