By Josh Brown
Miami Valley Today
WINONA LAKE, Ind. — When his Grace College men’s soccer, Arron Patrick, coached pitched an idea for COVID-19 relief, Tyler Brueckman — a Bethel High School graduate — knew what to do.
“Coach presented the idea to us one day,” Brueckman said. “Later on, I was sitting at home bored, so I started to look at it and just took it and ran with it — pun intended.”
Brueckman, fellow teammate and Bethel grad Korry Hamlin and the rest of the Lancers men’s soccer team will participate in a 48-hour relay run beginning Wednesday in order to raise money to donate to relief funds to benefit those affected by the global pandemic caused by the coronavirus, COVID-19.
At noon Wednesday, the Lancers will begin to run in 20-minute shifts and continue for the next 48 hours until noon Friday to encourage donations for a GoFundMe page, “48 Hour Run Against COVID-19,” that Brueckman set up for the event. All proceeds raised will go to organizations like the Warsaw Salvation Army, IMA World Health and the Community Foundation of Elkhart County Response Fund. People will also be able to follow the run live on the team’s Instagram page, grace__soccer.
“I did something similar in high school with the Relay for Life, so I had a little background in this kind of thing,” Brueckman said. “So I looked at it, worked on it a bit — and now it’s blowing up. It’s crazy.”
“As a soccer program, we wanted to use our platform to pay it back and help the community,” Hamlin said. “We’re not in season right now but we’re in training, so we knew we would be running. We just wanted a way to help the community in these unprecedented times.
“We’ve got a Google spreadsheet filled in with 20-minute time slots for everybody. And we’ve got a few international guys on the team, too, so since they’re used to being up at different times of the night, that helps.”
Once the potential idea took form, the entire Lancers team was on board.
“Tyler brought up the idea, and the whole team was all in,” Hamlin said. “That’s the thing I love the most about this team, the sense of community and the relationships between everyone. I run track in college, as well, so I’m used to running, but there’s some guys that maybe don’t love running as much as I do. Still, once they heard the idea of giving back and helping people, they were all in.”
For Brueckman and Hamlin, both 2018 Bethel graduates and sophomores at Grace, having each other to lean on has been a big help, both through the normal college experience and through the current pandemic.
“We were both valedictorians, and we’ve been best friends since we were kids,” Brueckman said. “It’s been awesome to have that best friend there that you know you can rely on. It made the transition into college so much easier and more fun. It’s nice to know that you’ve got that person you can lean on if you need them. Like now during this run, if I have a time slot open at 3 a.m., I know I can rely on him. It’s something that I’ve been blessed with and thankful for.”
“It’s been awesome, and I’ve enjoyed it so much,” Hamlin said. “Tyler and I have played together since we were about six years old. Being able to share these experiences with someone I know has been awesome. We’re able to pick each other up whenever we need each other.”
And with the pandemic affecting the entire world, it’s only fitting that the team has players from places like Italy, England, Germany, Brazil, Mexico and New Zealand. And athletes and coaches from other sports from Grace College will join in the relay, as well.
“To have this opportunity, it’s just awesome,” Brueckman said. “With everyone so spread out and us having so many international guys, to have something like this really brings us all together. We just want to use our God-given gifts for the greater good, for those less fortunate and in need.”
Contact Josh Brown at [email protected], or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.
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