The El Molino High School athletic booster club’s generosity to Middletown High School following the devastating Valley fire has captured the attention of CBS Sports’ national football show “The NFL Today.”
The show, which airs before the National Football League game of the week on Sunday mornings, will air a segment on the Lions’ fundraising efforts and on Lake County’s recovery from the September fire.
Dozens of Middletown students, athletes and staff lost their homes in the September fire, which killed four people, destroyed almost 2,000 structures and caused more than $1.5 billion in economic losses.
El Molino boosters unofficially adopted Middletown High after a football game between the schools was cancelled as the fire raged. The group set out on a huge fund-raising effort to help their once-rivals rebuild after losing their homes and much of their sports equipment.
On Monday, an “NFL Today” producer and film crew visited El Molino to conduct interviews with boosters, players, coaches and school staff about the fundraising. Booster club president Ron Wright, who spearheaded the effort, said the crew spent about three hours at the school.
“It was pretty cool,” he said.
The crew interviewed him and vice president Becky Sani, and their football playing sons, who met with Middletown football players the week after their game was scheduled. The varsity and junior varsity teams also posed for a group photo for the film crew.
Monday night, the crew was planning to go to Calistoga, where relief and donation efforts were headquartered, and then on to Middletown on Tuesday to tour damaged areas, Wright said.
The estimated economic losses make the Valley fire, one of the largest in the state’s history, also one of the state’s costliest wildfires. Flames destroyed 1,958 structures, according to Cal Fire, including 1,280 homes, 27 multi-family structures, 66 commercial properties and 585 other minor structures.
Economic losses also include numerous cars and personal property that were damaged or destroyed, which killed four people and injured four firefighters.
El Molino boosters raised more than $40,000 in cash and gift cards for the Mustangs, much of it in prepaid cards to Target, Wal-Mart and Dick’s Sporting Goods. The sporting goods chain donated 150 $50 cards.
The segment is expected to be shown on the network’s pre-game program on Nov. 1, Wright said.
You can reach Lori A. Carter at 521-5470 or email@example.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.