Stealing from kids is the lowest form of thievery

Mar 11, 2017
To help provide football and cheerleading uniforms and gear, send donations to Waynesville Mountaineers Youth Football and Cheerleading, P.O. Box 225, Waynesville, NC 28786.

Words cannot describe the depravity of those who stole an estimated $32,000 worth of equipment and gear from the Waynesville Mountaineers Youth Football and Cheerleading league. Stealing from kids is about as bad as it gets.

A utility trailer containing not only uniforms and football gear, but all the concession items the league needed to raise money, was recently stolen from the Jonathan Valley School property where it had been parked.

League coaching coordinator and volunteer Mark McCracken said the proximity to I-40 makes him doubt the items will ever been returned, despite the fact uniforms with Waynesville names emblazoned on them will be useless to the thieves.

He suspects the utility trailer was the target and that other than an almost new 5-foot grill the league recently bought for $2,100, the other items will likely be unloaded in a trash container.

Up until several weeks ago, the trailer was parked at the Hazelwood School, but the Waynesville Middle School program gave the youth league a deadline for them to move, so the trailer was returned to Jonathan Valley, where it had previously been parked for four years.

McCracken, who has no children in the program, recently agreed to head the league, partly out of a long family tradition of involvement in Mountaineer youth sports. His father spent 30 years helping Tuscola football and served as his inspiration.

The Maggie Valley Police Department is investigating the theft and asking for those who might have information to contact them at 926-0867.

Shortly after the theft was discovered, McCracken learned that those previously in charge had cancelled the insurance policy to save $1,000 and were only carrying the player liability insurance required by the school. Had the policy been kept in place, about 75 percent of the loss would have been covered.

To bring the league back to where it was, fundraising will need to start from scratch, and that’s exactly what is happening.

McCracken said he is heartened by the outpouring of support and The Maggie Valley community is helping lead the charge with Dave Angel of Elevated Distilling opening his of his new business for tours and a fundraising barbecue on March 25. Volunteers will help Angel solicit donations from area businesses for a silent auction.

The Canton and Bethel youth leagues are helping out, McCracken said, and Pisgah High School Coach Brett Chappell is lending his full support to helping the program get back on its feet.

McCracken vows to not rest until the league is back in business and foresees good coming out of the bad.

“What happened is a bad thing, and we’re going to turn it into a good thing,” he told The Mountaineer.

We have every confidence that is exactly what will happen.

This community has pulled through worse than this, and when it comes to helping kids, Haywood's generosity seemingly has no bounds.

To contribute funds to the cause, send donations to Waynesville Mountaineers Youth Football and Cheerleading, P.O. Box 225, Waynesville, NC 28786 or contribute through the league's Go Fund Me page.