MSU Australians React to Wildfires Back Home

Published: Feb. 6, 2020 at 12:54 PM CST
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Australians on the Minot State University basketball teams have been in a tough spot, having to follow their country's wildfires from half a world away through their families.

"It was kind of the middle of the night here, and I was on the phone with my sister just trying to get updates," said junior guard Bethany Theodore.

"Up late night looking at the updates, but I felt helpless. I'm obviously in Minot, it's the other side of the world so there's not really a whole lot I can do other than just send my thoughts to the people back home. That's definitely been hard," said junior guard Max Cody.

Freshman guard Kobe Jackson is from Tasmania, an island just off the coast of the mainland. But even there, he's seen effects.

"They're all stranded on the beach for a few days. We're going to have to redo roads, relocate people. Our food chain is going to suffer, and a lot of people have been misplaced," Jackson said.

Women's Basketball Graduate Assistant Coach Ryan Clark says the sheer size of the blaze has proven difficult to contain.

"It's all over the country, so resources were limited. You had poor volunteer firefighters out there with their truck and water pump on the back trying to do their best as well," Clark said.

Throughout the struggle, Australian unity has always been there.

"One of the good things about this is that the community has really come together nice and tight. There's been a bunch of different organizations who have donated millions and millions of dollars in supplies, which has obviously helped the people in need," Cody said.

"It kind of makes you want to go back and see your family a little bit more," Theodore said.

Theodore's hometown was evacuated before the wildfires went in a different direction. The players and Coach Clark feel fortunate that their friends and families haven't been devastated to the extent of others, but it's still tough to see.

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