BUTTE — After watching coronavirus shutter the fall Frontier Conference football season before it even began, Montana Tech running back Tyler Folkes was more than eager to play a small part in helping loosen COVID-19's grip on Butte.
"A lot of the team definitely jumped out to help," Folkes said. "Butte helps us out a lot and we try to return the favor."
On Tuesday, Folkes, a redshirt junior, and more than two dozen of his teammates volunteered at the Civic Center as medical workers continued rolling out the COVID-19 vaccine to residents age 70 and older.
So Proud of our guys volunteering today for the Vaccine clinic at the Civic Center! We had 26 guys step up and volunteer on short notice to help out our community for a great cause! Thank u men! You are what’s great about this world! Servant Leaders!#Community#CountOnMe#Family pic.twitter.com/Ci4hrl0usa— Montana Tech Football (@MonTechFootball) February 10, 2021
"They were all so appreciative, which is really awesome," Folkes said. "It kind of makes you feel good and it's nice to kind of see the light at the end of the tunnel for the pandemic. And so that was really cool and it kind of makes you appreciative of the community you are in."
The Tech players helped out in any capacity they could from directing cars and traffic outside the Civic Center to disinfecting surfaces to just helping people get where they needed to go.
"We were doing whatever we could do to lend a hand," Folkes said.
Along with the rest of the Frontier Conference, Folkes is waiting to see if the scheduled spring football season ultimately kicks off. He misses the gridiron, of course, but this was still a unique way for him and his teammates to connect with Butte's older generation.
"I think the best part about it is when you're out there you do have a great time because you see the smiles on all those people's faces and you know how appreciative they are," Folkes said. "The impact you're making on other peoples lives is the driving force."
The Orediggers are set to open the spring season on March 20 at MSU-Northern. Tech's first scheduled home game is against Montana Western on March 27.