Following concession stand vandalism, Union High Band Boosters bounce back
On Halloween night, one of the concession stands at Bullitt Park in Big Stone Gap was nearly destroyed. Vandal(s) broke in, tossing things from sodas to food, bleach to grease, and more onto the floors and walls of the stand.
This stand, however, is a main money-maker for the Union High School Marching Bears.
Union High Band Director, Kimberely Sturgill tells News 5 that the band is largely self-funded.
"We have to make up the difference, if we want to continue doing the things we do to the level that we're doing them. Through our band boosters at the concession stands, fundraisers and such."
Two years ago, the Band Boosters helped raise nearly $70,000 for the band. As you can imagine, this senseless act hit pretty hard...initially.
"When we opened the door, it...it was just a mess" says Band Booster President Tracy Holcomb.
Immediately after, a post was made to the Union High Marching Bears Facebook page, soliciting help. Hours later, the post was shared more than 500 times.
One man donated 140 pounds of cat litter to soak up the grease, as others donated their time and resources. This included three-to-four area high school bands, like Wise Central.
The large amount of community support has band members motivated to finish out the season strong.
Senior trumpet player, Josh Craddock, told us "Many people are offering help to clean it up and offering returns." Meanwhile, senior saxophone player Matt Rhoten strongly declared that "Just because they break into our concession stand, we can still go out and be proud."
Because of new donations and the community's overwhelming support, the concession stand will be back open Friday evening as the Bears play host to John Battle.
"At the end of the day, something really good came out of something really bad."
Big Stone Gap police are still investigating this incident as of Thursday afternoon.
*Donations are still being accepted through the Union High School Band or at Friday night's game, as they continue to rebuild from the money lost in damaged products.*