On a chilly Wednesday morning at Ruston Elementary School, Jerrod Baugh holds a bag of food, while greeting a woman inside her car.
“You doing alright?”
Even without football, Coach Baugh is still impacting the lives of those in Ruston.
“I would like to say that’s something I had done, you know, other than just coaching football through the years.”
He’s traded his whistle for working with families who may not have the means to go grocery shopping. The West Ouachita alum is also making sure students are on top of their studies.
“It’s kind of lended itself to circumstances now to where it’s a necesity, rather than something that’s just extra, ” says Baugh.
Joining Baugh is Ruston second year principal, and Louisiana Tech baseball alum, Dan Gressett. In 2019, tragedy struck his campus with last April’s tornado. In 2020, he’s combating a different obstacle.
“Just trying to figure out how to keep moving forward, and do the things we need to do, ” says Gressett. “It hasn’t been a seamless transition. But, it probably has been as smooth as possible during these times.”
The duo of Gressett and Baugh, along with the help of several staff and faculty members, previously served thousands of meals. Nearly a month ago, they were forced to shut down, due to safety concerns. They’re back now. And, the amount of food given has skyrocketed. The same even goes for school books.
“There are some days that are slow, ” Gressett says. “Some days the line is backed up. And, you’re handing out as fast as you can. But, probably averaging just, per site, about 100 a day.”
Both aren’t obligated to volunteer their time. Instead, they’re doing it by choice.
“You’re used to talking to the kids in the hallway everyday, ” Gressett continues. “And, all of a sudden you go to not seeing them at all. It’s a little bit of a breath of fresh air. And, Coach Baugh, he didn’t have anything else to do. We made him come up here, ” Gressett jokes.
Speaking of Coach Baugh, he’s ready to unite with his players. But, for now the focus is on school work.
“The good thing about it is, they stapled all of them together. So, if they come by to get something, a subject that they like, they’re going to have to get the other ones also, ” says Baugh. “So, they were smart whenever they put those packets together.”