By Michaela Gibson Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
SMITHVILLE – Athletes will have a helping hand as they build up for the coming season.
Dr. George Hammitt, a Tupelo pain specialist, donated a multi-station strength training system to the Smithville athletic department.
The Monroe County town and its high school were devastated by an EF-5 tornado on April 27.
“We just wanted to give back to the community,” said Hammitt, who is on the medical staff at Gilmore Memorial Hospital in Amory, the hospital where most tornado victims were treated initially.
Most of the high school’s weight room equipment survived the tornado, but the new exercise station is a valuable addition that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, said Smithville football coach Bubba Tacker, who also serves as assistant principal at the school.
“The additional equipment will allow more students into the weight room at a time,” Tacker said. The weight room at the temporary school site in Smithville stays in almost constant use with athletes with different sports.
Hammitt purchased the exercise equipment for $12,000 two years ago to help patients who need some physical therapy work to address muscle weakness because of pain and nerve compression.
“We weren’t utilizing it as much as we thought we would,” Hammitt said. “It’s practically new.”
The generosity of Dr. Hammitt and other donors who have reached out to the school and the community during the tornado recovery continues to touch the faculty and students, Tacker said.
“That people are still thinking of us, it’s very overwhelming and touching,” Tacker said.