Nike employees completed several clean-up projects at three Crook County School District facilities last week

by: LON AUSTIN - Nike employees spread gravel around the outer edge of the track at Ward Rhoden Stadium. This project was one of three Nike completed for the Crook County schools last week.

When people think of Nike, several images likely come to mind.

Perhaps they would envision the ‘swoosh,’ or recall the iconic ‘Just Do It’ slogan.

However, after this past Tuesday, it’s possible that the students and staff of Crook County High School and Middle School will picture something more meaningful.

That day, about 65 Nike employees dove into clean-up projects at the two schools as well as Ward Rhoden Stadium — an effort that high school track coach Ernie Brooks called “a three-hour blitz.”

The projects originated in July, when Brooks received a phone call from a Nike representative who said the company was in search of community projects. Brooks said his name later came up when Nike representatives met for a weeklong conference at Brasada Ranch.

“So we started brainstorming what we could do. We said, ‘Hey, we need some stuff done at the stadium and elsewhere.’”

A team of about 65 Nike employees arrived on Tuesday. Within three hours, they had spread six dump trucks of gravel at Ward Rhoden Stadium, 30 yards of bark at the middle school, and 25 more yards at the high school.

“They brought the workers and we supplied the shovels, the rakes, and the wheelbarrows,” Brooks said. He went on to thank a long list of groups who contributed supplies to the effort including the Crook County Parks and Recreation District, the Woodward family, school district maintenance personnel, and the high school agriculture department.

For high school principal Michelle Jonas, the project was a pleasant surprise. The group spread bark across the front of the main building and over the planters throughout the parking lot.

“It just looks really great when you add new bark, the coloring — it just makes the whole front of the school look better,” she said.

CCMS principal Kurt Sloper is equally enamored with the work the Nike staff completed in the middle school’s science courtyard.

“During the summer, we had some trees that were overhanging the building. They were insurance hazards and we had to take them out. What used to be a beautiful area that our science department kept up didn’t look nearly as good.”

With the help of leadership students who prepared the area, Nike employees spread bark in the courtyard, and in the process helped restore some of its aesthetic appeal.

“Now, we have some smaller trees, a little grass, and the nice bark that is laid down,” Sloper said. “We have been trying to make it an emphasis to spruce up our building and make it a place that we can be proud of. This effort that Nike put out definitely helped us tackle a really large project.”

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