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Former NFL QB Brett Favre joins with LDS Church members in tornado cleanup effort

Published: Tuesday, Feb. 19 2013 9:21 a.m. MST

LDS missionaries and congregation members pose with skid steer donated by former NFL quarterback Brett Favre.

Courtesy of Linda Jackson

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HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre teamed up with Mormon Helping Hands after a devastating tornado ripped through Favre's hometown of Hattiesburg, Miss., earlier this month.

On Feb. 10 an F-4 tornado ripped through Hattiesburg leaving more than 4,000 residents without power, destroying homes, causing damage to Southern Miss University (Favre's alma mater), and completely wiping out the athletic facilities of Oak Grove High School, where Favre coaches football. Despite the destruction, there were no reported fatalities.

“They’re gone now, just a mangled mess,” Favre told NBC Sports. “The baseball field is just destroyed. [The community of Oak Grove] was hit the hardest. We have nothing.”

After being contacted by LDS couple Wade and Dolly Walters, Favre donated a skid steer that was used by LDS missionaries and other church members to clean up debris from the Oak Grove ward bishop's property, which received severe damage.

Favre and his wife, Deanna, also mobilized a team of fundraisers who work for the Farve4Hope Foundation, an organization that was initially set up by Deanna to help cancer survivors.

In an email, Wade Walters, who is an acquaintance of Favre, recounted how Favre joked about the amount of attention he received from Mormons after a picture surfaced of him with LDS missionary and BYU football recruit Troy Hinds.

“I was hunting with Brett [the other day] and he jokingly brought up that Darrell Bevell, a coach for Seattle Seahawks that Brett really admires, called him and said he was famous in the Mormon community now that he met with that kid who was on his mission that BYU signed," Wade said in the email. "He said he told Coach Bevell, 'Would the Mormons still like me if I talked him into playing at Southern Miss?' In short, he is flattered by the Mormon attention. He has a lot of friends that molded his career that are Mormons, and [helping rebuild] is a way he can give back. "

For those wishing to aid in cleanup efforts, donations via check or credit card can be made to www.pinebeltfoundation.org by putting "Rebuilding Athletics in the Pinebelt" or "RAP" in the memo line.

Ryan Carreon is a web editor for DeseretNews.com. E-mail him at rcarreon@desnews.com

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