The newly formed archery club at Southeastern Illinois College will be selling firewood to raise funds for equipment and travel expenses, thanks to Man-Tra-Con workers who donated the firewood to the team after spending almost two months clearing limbs out of a drainage ditch next to SIC that was clogged with downed trees caused by the Feb. 29 tornado.
Head Archery Coach Archie Blair said the team has nine members so far and is planning to attend competitions all over the nation. In addition to travel expenses, the team needs equipment and a practice range on the SIC campus, which is why they are raising funds in any way they can. They are also currently accepting donations of scrap metal, which they will come pick up from any local residence.
"Every little bit helps," Blair said.
When Blair contacted local farmer Jim Ellis asking if he had any scrap metal to donate, Ellis came up with an even better idea. Ellis is also the Man-Tra-Con project manager for the group that has been cleaning the drainage ditch on the northeast side of SIC's campus, which produced an abundance of wood they had planned to simply burn. Instead, Ellis suggested donating the wood to the archery club for them to sell as a fundraiser.
"It's a win-win situation," Ellis said. "These kinds of activities help keep kids in school."
Blair said he started the archery club, which is in its inaugural year, because so many SIC students have an interest in outdoor activities like hunting. However, he doesn't want team members to have to pay for their equipment out-of-pocket, which is why the team is holding fundraisers like the firewood sale.
"We're trying to provide zero-cost for students who are members of the archery team," said Blair.
Plans are under way to construct a private archery range on the east end of campus so the team can practice with equipment and three-dimensional targets just like those used at the competitions the team will be attending. Twenty acres have been set aside for the range, which will be used only by members of the SIC archery team.
"They're representing the college so we want them to be able to compete at the optimal level," Blair said.
SIC President Dr. Jonah Rice came down to thank the Man-Tra-Con employees for their hard work over the past seven weeks.
"We're very excited about the new archery team and very thankful for Man-Tra-Con's assistance with the fundraiser," Rice said.
Team members were also thankful for the donation.
Page 2 of 2 - "We appreciate all the hard work and effort Archie and the Man-Tra-Con workers have done for us," said team member Dylan Davis.
Anyone interested in purchasing firewood or donating scrap metal to help out the archery team should contact Blair at (618) 252-5400 ext. 3251.