Since June, the Magazine Senior Rattlers basketball team has been participating in community service throughout their town. Businesses and citizens across Magazine have been benefiting greatly from the hard work these Rattlers have been putting into their community. Leading this group of young men is first-year head coach for boys basketball, Justin Mackey. After spending five years as assistant coach in Lafayette County, Justin and his wife Robyn made the move to Magazine this past June. The Rattlers have mandatory community service projects once a week as a team with plans to keep things rolling after summer ends. For instance, during the holidays “projects will be less labor-oriented and more people driven with services like visiting the elderly and participation in Toys for Tots,” explained Coach Mackey.
The young men getting out into their community are seniors Cameron Raggio, Tatum Scott, Brady Watson, Nate Bryan, Cole Gilbert, William King, and Ethan Staton. Juniors, Ashton Droemer, Austin Krigbaum, Haden Littleton, and Reese Nietert. And sophomores, Aiden Sherriff, AJ Malouf, Ben Chenowith, Trace Nicholas, Jackson Oliver, and Sam Warner. “The main things I’m hoping the boys will take away from this is community pride/ownership and a strong work ethic. I’ve been extremely blessed with a great group of men who have bought into the program mentality from day one.”
Since preparing to be a head coach, Mackey has planned on implementing both community service and an elementary reading program into the culture. “I wanted these young men to have a sense of pride in their community and to give back to the people that continually support them. Nothing will foster pride or ownership like hard work and sweat.” In the next couple of weeks, the Rattlers have a few more street projects lined up along with a list of local community needs that they will tackle.
If there are two things that Coach Mackey is hoping this group of young men take with them into adulthood when it comes to establishing a sense of service it’s this. “Number one: No one accomplishes anything in life alone. Life requires teamwork and people along the way to get to your goals. Doing these projects together as a team builds the mindset of lending a helping hand to the people around you even when you get nothing in return. It is a trait that’s still alive in rural America but has been lost on some of the population. I want the men that leave my program to be oriented to caring for others and always helping their neighbors.”
“And Number two: Serving others develops character. Through hard work and selfless service, these men are developing traits that will help them not only become successful adults but men that will be ready to lead their family and community. Rattler Basketball is about developing whole men that will lead families and communities in the future. Basketball is important, but developing the next generation of great men is the ultimate goal! FAITH, ATTITUDE, DISCIPLINE!”