Letterman jackets are worn by high school athletes with pride and during the awards banquet for Terre Haute South’s Cross Country team, a special jacket was the perfect fit for one student-athlete.
“I was like you don’t have to do that,” Terre Haute South Senior, Alonso Horsley said. “I’m not sure why they would pick me but I was like I don’t know why you would pick me. I’m just your average joe runner. I was honestly surprised and then when she told me I was like alright I’ll take it. I will be honored to bear his name.”
The jacket is the first to be awarded by The Garrett Sands Kindness Project.
It was something Garrett’s mom, Jayna Sullivan, felt compelled to do because this is the first season of cross county since his death.
“Garrett was very proud of his letterman jacket,” Jayna Sullivan said. “He worked very very hard for his letter. So we felt it fitting to his memory to do something that meant so much to him.”
The red and black jacket is unique, not only for the award but because Garrett’s name was embroidered on the back.
“Hopefully and this should be a legacy of Garrett Sands and you always have to start with someone,” Horsley said. “I’m just glad to be the first one to light the torch.”
But the story goes way beyond a jacket.
On the night of south’s prom, Sullivan was at Deming Park, that’s when she saw a group of students and felt the need to approach the group.
“I just wanted to talk to all the kids because Garrett didn’t get to make it to prom,” Sullivan said. “So we had that little bit of a connection in the summer and then when I found out that he is the one that they had chosen to receive the jacket. I just thought it was perfect.”
It’s a bond and a memory that both will cherish for years to come.
“Garrett did everything from the heart,” Sullivan said. “We wanted something that was more from the heart that we could physically give to somebody.”
The jacket is just one of several acts of kindness carried out by The Garrett Sands Kindness Project.
Members of the project have also picked up trash and donated school supplies to students in Vigo County.
To learn more about the Garrett Sands Project click here.