Last week brought out the worst kind of deja vu for Terry Malone.
Purdue’s new offensive coordinator on Saturday sent this tweet out from tornado-ravaged Kokomo, Ind., 46 miles east of the Boilermakers’ West Lafayette campus:
Kokomo got blasted by several tornadoes this week..glad to lend a hand today. Keep those good folks in your prayers. pic.twitter.com/gSWJTYbfsa
— Terry Malone (@Coach_TMalone) August 27, 2016
Malone volunteered to help the local United Way clean up this past weekend at the urging of his wife Ann. Malone was a tight ends coach with the New Orleans Saints from 2006-14, joining coach Sean Payton’s staff a few months after Hurricane Katrina had torn through southern Louisiana in August 2005.
“I’ve got a wonderful wife (Ann) and we’ve kind of developed a little bit of an attitude, being in New Orleans and having so many people in need around us. It became a bit of a lifestyle for us,” Malone told GoldandBlack.com. “So, when that (tornado) happened on Wednesday, on Thursday she said, ‘Hey, I’m checking right now to find an organization to work for on Saturday.’ So we freed up the day and went over there. It was a terrific experience. People were very appreciative of us being there, big smiles on faces. There were tears from people who we went and helped.
“It was very satisfying. I’m not sure how much we did to help, because there’s so much work to be done, but we cleared three or four yards of debris and cut a couple trees down. But we had a really good day.”
Last Wednesday’s EF-3 tornado, one of nine to hit the Hoosier state, reportedly damaged 1,000 structures in the area, destroyed 200 more and caused minor injuries.
The scale of Katrina in 2005 was bigger, displacing tens of thousands and killing more than 1,200. But loss can come in various levels, which the Malones have discovered.
“There was never a year in New Orleans without having something,” Terry Malone said, “so it becomes a part of the way you think. The fact is that you really don’t need to do a whole lot to help people who are in need. They really appreciate it and you get a lot more satisfaction of doing it than they probably do out of you helping them.”
Louisiana is still suffering now, with Baton Rouge dealing with floods that forced more than 10,000 people to seek refuge in more than 50 Red Cross and community shelters, per FEMA.
And almost 55,000 residential structures have been damaged by the rains that started earlier this month. And water remains. At Purdue’s preseason football banquet, Malone appealed to others for help.
If you’re interested in helping, even from a distance, the United Way of Howard County has details on its website: