Abraxas aids SAMHS with athletic gear

Abraxas Youth and Family Services is acknowledging their is no “I” in team.

Abraxas has partnered with Sheffield Area Middle High School for, amongst other activities, sports programs since 1995.

When Sheffield was faced with prospect of spending thousands of dollars to replace worn out wrestling mats, Abraxas decided to take the opportunity to step up to the plate and show their support for their teammate.

“I was approached by Jared about providing this,” Abraxas I Director Mike Cantrell said. “It’s a token of our appreciation for Sheffield’s work.”

Jared, in this case, is Jared Finch, an Abraxas employee, but also Sheffield Wrestling Club president.

Wednesday, Abraxas presented a $9,500 check to Sheffield for the mats, but the donation, according to Sheffield Principal Amy Beers, will stretch beyond the wrestling program.

“We would have needed to pull money from boosters, adding to other sports’ deficits” Beers said. “It will definitely help every sport. This wouldn’t have happened otherwise without the community doing it. This really takes a weight off the community’s shoulders.”

“That’s the focus now,” Finch said. “With pay to participate it’s difficult.”

According to Beers, the mats, which are approximately 20 years old, were in dire need of replacement.

“We were definitely due,” Beers said. “They were the oldest mats in the county.”

According to Cantrell, the donation was a way of recognizing a partnership that, according to him, has made a real difference in the lives of the youths Abraxas serves.

“For us, we want to continue to strengthen our relationship with the school and the community,” Cantrell said. “Our kids participate in the school, in sports programs and the community. This community has embraced our kids. They’ve taken in a number of our kids over the years. I think this meets our goal of helping Sheffield sports.”

Finch said the donation is the largest Abraxas has made in his memory. Large enough it required approval at the national level from Abraxas’ headquarters.

“There was no hesitation,” Cantrell said of the decision.