BARDSTOWN, Ky. (WAVE) – Community is what drives the people in Bardstown. When one is down, others help stand that person back up.
At Nelson County High School, it's clear the love for head basketball coach Zach Allender is strong.
Just days after his house caught on fire and destroyed his family’s belongings, Allender was back at work, dedicated to coaching the sport he loves.
“At some point, you gotta get back to normalcy. So why not just do it sooner than later?” Allender told WAVE 3 News Tuesday night. “We have senior night tonight. These kids have put in a lot of time, a lot of work and a lot of effort so they deserve this.”
He said he appreciates the support, but he wants his focus to stay on his players.
“It’s not about me, it’s about them,” Allender said. “You know, that’s why I got into coaching was for the kids and to teach them the game that I love. So, I’ve kind of deflected everything away from me. It’s more for them.”
After parents of players and others in the community found out about the Saturday morning fire, they jumped into action to help.
"I was devasted because I have dealt with that myself,” Vanessa Linton, a parent of one of the basketball players, said. “Not myself, but my dad had lost his home with my siblings with absolutely nothing left, and I know Zach is a single dad with two young kids. So, my concern was where's he going to go. What's he going to do?"
The next step was a no-brainer for Linton: asking for donations and anything to help Allender.
“If something bad happens, and there’s been a lot of bad that's happened in this community, that's the first thing that happens,” she said. “Everybody pulls together.”
The school had a donation bucket set up at the entrance to the Nelson County High School basketball game Tuesday night.
“He's done so much for our kids,” Amy Simpson, a parent of one of the players, said. “I mean, our kids are with him all the time.”
Allender said he’s appreciative of the community’s support.
“For them to kind of drop everything and worry about me and my family is very, very nice,” Allender said, “heartfelt and warming and just shows how strong a community can be.”
The community says there's one thing they want Coach Allender to know.
“We're all here,” Linton said. “Doors are open, and we'd do anything for him.”
The coach’s school family set up a bank fund at the PNC Bardstown Branch, where the family can access money for clothes and food. Checks can be mailed to the bank at 105 W. John Rowan Boulevard, Bardstown, KY 40004 with the ATTN: Zach Allender Catastrophe Fund.
There is also a GoFundMe set up for donations.