HATTIESBURG, Miss. - The Southern Miss Department of Athletics plans to pay tribute to the organizations, groups and volunteers, which helped in its recovery, rebuilding and restoration efforts following a devastating tornado last year, during its men's basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 9, against Charlotte.
The tribute, which will come one day prior to the one-year anniversary of the EF-4 tornado that ripped through the city of Hattiesburg and the Southern Miss campus, takes place during the Golden Eagles' 1 p.m., contest against the 49ers, which will also be televised nationally on the CBS Sports Network. Immediately following the devastating tornado, the entire Southern Miss community sprang into action to assist those in need of a helping hand. A student-led clean-up initiative saw over 800 students assist with clean-up on the University campus. Additionally, untold numbers of students, faculty and staff from the University of Southern Mississippi went out into the City of Hattiesburg to assist those in need.
Another group, which will recognized during the game, will be R3SM (Recover, Rebuild, Restore Southeast Mississippi), which is a long-term recovery agency created by United Way of Southeast Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina. They exist to coordinate restoration, rebuilding and recovery services to families with extreme housing needs, with the belief of adequate, safe, and affordable housing should be available to all citizens.
The tornado destroyed close to 250 homes and damaged another 600 homes, causing a loss of $38.525 million. The destruction was truly devastating; however, in the face of great adversity, our school and our community rose to the top as one to overcome these obstacles.
The purpose of the event is to serve as rally for the campus and community. The tribute is not meant to be a somber moment but rather a moment to show the nation the strength, the resolve, and the spirit of Southern Miss.
The first 5,000 fans in attendance for the game will receive a special ribbon sticker commemorating the Southern Miss spirit as well as a mini poster highlighting the tremendous support that Southern Miss received following this event. In addition, t-shirts with the motto "That Southern Spirit Will Never Stop" will be sold through the Barnes and Noble on campus and Campus Bookmart. Proceeds for the shirt will go to a fund for tornado relief through the Southern Miss Foundation.
Recognitions will be made throughout the game for those that have assisted with the recovery, rebuilding and restoration and there will be a special presentation as well as a video tribute played at halftime of the contest.
The Southern Miss community, comprised of professors, staff, alumni and students, truly came together to rebuild the campus and assist the City of Hattiesburg in a time of need. This game will provide an opportunity to highlight this story of resolve, strength and pride as the unwavering spirit of Southern Miss can never be destroyed. Our front porch may still be undergoing renovations but our foundation has never been stronger.