Teens from Iowa step in for a paralyzed neighbor whose yard was destroyed by the storm

Ray Drake lives with his two sisters so when they looked outside their window one day and discovered 30 teens in their yard they cried to learn the reason.


Ray Drake from Des Moines, Iowa, became paralyzed in 1989 and his two sisters have been taking care of him ever since. The life of people who face paralysis is hard because they struggle to perform even the most basic tasks, but Ray is happy he has someone to rely on whenever he needs anything.

Recently, his hometown was struck by a terrific storm that caused huge destruction. A huge number of people were left without electricity for over a week, a great number of the crops were simply wiped out, and the streets, as well as people’s yards, were left with huge trees broken in half.

Overall, the situation was disastrous.

Ray’s backyard was destroyed as well. Many fallen trees were making it impossible for his sisters to walk through while visiting him, and they knew they had to clean up the mess the storm that lasted for 14 hours left behind.

But where should they start? Although they were aware those trees were a lot for the two of them to handle, they had to start somewhere, so they contacted one of Ray’s school friends and asked for a chainsaw to lend.

Doug Applegate was more than willing to help, but after he saw the photos of his friend’s backyard he knew the sisters needed a lot more than a single chainsaw. What he did next brought Iowans the praise from people from all over the country.

Namely, Doug contacted the local school, Roosevelt High School, and asked from the football team to help. Believe it or not, around 30 teenagers who played for the school team arrived at Ray’s backyard in a matter of hours.

When Ray and his sisters saw the teens, they couldn’t contain their tears and happiness. One of the boys, Jackson Neary, said something that touched many. “That’s just what people in Iowa do. We’re all friendly and help each other out.” This made many want to be residents of Iowa themselves.

Ray couldn’t thank the players enough and kept saying, “I’m blessed. I’m blessed.” These teens really made his day.

They all worked really hard and showed what it means to care for the members of the community. Thank you boys for doing such an incredible thing.

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