Red Cross volunteers inspired by Kentucky coach, players

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HOUSTON (WKYT) -- While the nation's attention focused on Florida and the damage from Irma, Houston is a long way from recovering from Harvey.

University of Kentucky Men's Basketball Coach John Calipari and some of his former and current players from Houston paid a visit this past weekend to see how money raised in a telethon aired on Gray affiliate WKYT is being used.

WKYT went along for the exclusive look at their trip to the Red Cross Disaster Recovery Headquarters and a shelter for flood victims.

A cart for moving things rumbles towards the doors of a Red Cross shelter at a Houston church. Loading up the cart with supplies are two young men familiar to UK basketball fans. Their home is Houston, and when Coach Cal called, the Harrison twins (Andrew and Aaron) answered and went right to work at a Red Cross shelter.

"The whole city's in a recovery stage. Most of the water is down, but you can still feel the effects of it," Andrew said. "It just makes you feel like you wanna help, help as many people as you can, as much as you can and that's what we're trying to do."

Andrew and Aaron played for the UK Wildcats and now have taken their talents to the NBA. The massive floods two weeks ago did not reach their childhood home but did affect other family members.

"My sister, her house got flooded, all the first floors, so we're over there helping, tear up sheet rock, take out the wet furniture, so it was great to help, but really sad to see," said Marian Harrison, the twin's mom.

Red Cross volunteers in Houston on Sunday enjoyed a break from work to take pictures, grab an autograph, and meet the UK Coach.

WKYT's Sam Dick asked Jarred Vanderbilt, freshman UK Basketball Player, how it felt about returning to Houston. Despite the widespread flooding, he says "it feels great; come back to the city I was raised in, just to see the sun come back shining in my city is a great feeling."

As his former players and a current player looked on, Coach Calipari encouraged dozens of volunteers at the Red Cross Disaster Recovery HQ in Houston. He told them to keep doing the work they're doing. He said, "I know you go home tired, but you also have a full heart."

Coach Cal told the volunteers, "Someone said to me, 'Why would you go down there now that other storms hitting?' I said because they better not forget about Houston."

Applause erupted from the crowd.

Greg Waite, a Red Cross official, says the visit from the coach and players is important during this stressful time.

"It's just overwhelming, and it helps to inspire them to do the work they're doing," Waite said. "You know, you heard him say, people are working, 12, 15, 18 hour days. They're constantly tired, so I think it's going to help rejuvenate them, and give them a little more umphf."

When Coach Calipari preaches the value of servant leadership, this is what he's talking about.

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