BARBOURVILLE, Ky. - The Union College and Barbourville communities came together to show support for Union head volleyball coach and his family on Friday with the "Praying & Playing" Tournament.
At the event, Union College community members and Barbourville community members united to raise funds for the Cheyenne Kateri Wise Fund. Cheyenne Kateri Wise, the infant daughter of Union coach Jeremy Wise, recently lost her battle with cancer. Activities at the event included a volleyball tournament, corn hole and water pong tournament, T-shirts and baked goods sales.
Wise expressed his gratitude for the support and said the Union community had acted as family when needed.
"We have been so overwhelmed by the show of love and support from the Union College community. We have lived here for only seven or eight months and moved here not knowing anyone," Wise said. "After going through what we've been through – which no one should have to deal with, we now know we have family here in Kentucky."
The event was organized primarily by the Union College volleyball team as a way to show support for their coach and his family. Caity Merritt, a senior member of the volleyball team, said the team was amazed at the amount of support shown during this event.
"When we initially came up with the idea to have a volleyball tournament to help raise money for the Wise family, we knew it would be big, but not big enough to raise $4,500," Merritt said. "We even had people from around the world asking for a T-shirt, which was awesome! The amount of support we received from Union and the community was endless."
Tyler Brock, Union men's soccer coach, helped the team organize the event. He reiterated Merritt's statement, calling the event a true example of the word "Union," and emphasized the dedication of the volleyball team.
"This entire event came together because of the love and respect that the volleyball team has for their coach. And once they got the event started, there was no shortage of people to help. When one of our family needed help, everybody came running," Brock said.
The event raised $4,500 for the Cheyenne Kateri Wise Fund, set up at Hometown Family Bank in Barbourville. Brock said that donations can be made at any branch of Hometown Bank. He also encouraged those wishing to show support to join the Facebook page "Prayers for Cheyenne Kateri Wise." For more information, contact the Office of College Communications at 606-546-1610.