Courtesy of Tarleton Sports Information

FORT WORTH - Fifteen Tarleton State Texan football team members and coaches took an evening out of their offseason schedule to serve a spaghetti supper at the Ronald McDonald House in Fort Worth late last month.

Capping off their spring community service projects, the team prepared a meal for 60 people. Spaghetti, several different sauces, garlic and French bread and salad were served for the main course. Ice cream sundaes topped off the dinner.

“We thought this would be a good opportunity for our guys and coaching staff,” said Tarleton head coach Sam McElroy, whose family stayed at the Ronald McDonald house after his youngest daughter was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia.

“When Val and I stayed, we were always very grateful for a nice, hot meal, and we thought this would be a great way for us to give back as a football family here at Tarleton,” McElroy said.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities are established to provide a

“temporary home away from home that serves and sustains families of seriously ill children receiving treatment” at the local hospital, according to the charity’s web site.

“When you have been sitting in a hospital all day long, it is great to have a home-cooked meal,” McElroy said.

“Our players and coaching staff cooked the meal, and then we sat and talked with the families. This was a good opportunity for our athletes. It was probably good for the athletes as much as the families and kids because the students got to be around kids not as fortunate as they are.”

The Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth opened its doors in 1981. Families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House travel from both in and out of state as well as internationally.

Families are asked to pay $15 each night, but according to the web site, no one is ever turned away because of the inability to pay.

The Tarleton football team delivers Meals on Wheels on Thursdays in Stephenville, and the Texans helped with this year’s Tri-Star Games. However, this community service project went deep into the heart of the program.

“We are very grateful for what the Ronald McDonald House did for our family, and we are glad our student-athletes and coaching staff wanted to give back,” McElroy said.

“There are a lot of people from around the state that now know about Tarleton State University, and our guys did a great job representing both the university and the Texan football program.”