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Tavita Tusitala

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Oregon Athletes Organize Relief Effort for Samoa Island Victims
« on: November 04, 2009, 11:41:00 AM »
Nearly 18 tons of goods amassed for tsunami relief

The Oregon athletic department this afternoon solicited 35,380 pounds of food, water, medical supplies and other goods to send to Samoa and American Samoa after those regions were ravaged by a recent tsunami.

Players and coaches accepted donations from the public from noon to 5 p.m. at the athletic department today. The final total was nearly 18 tons of goods, according to Tucker Davies of Lile Moving and Storage, which donated use of the 51-foot semi truck that is being navigated down to Northern California by driver Tim Galus for delivery by Wednesday afternoon.

“For such a short notice deal, this was a real feather in the cap for the university and our state,” Davies said of the fundraiser, which was announced last week.

Among the items donated were about 30 wheelchairs and an estimated 30,000 bottles of water, Davies said. Galus’ truck is just 620 pounds short of the legal limit for highway driving, according to Davies.

The fundraiser started with an idea from UO football coach Chip Kelly and defensive tackle Simi Toeaina—who spent part of his youth in American Samoa—and was put into motion by UO assistant athletic director for student-athlete development James Harris. Toeaina, Jeremiah Masoli and Andrew Iupati all have family in the Samoan islands, as do a handful of Oregon athletes in other sports.

The effort kicked off at noon today, but boxes of clothes were already piled up in the loading dock of the Moshofsky Center. At 12:02 p.m. the first car pulled up to unload donations, in that case bags of flour and rice. The first group of football players accepting donations included Toeaina, Titus Jackson, Blake Thompson, Mana Greig, Denton Tuiasosopo and former UO receiver Brian Paysinger.

“I’m excited that you care enough to do things like this,” Liz Thwing told the players as they unloaded from her trunk bags of rice and flour donated by Eugene-Delta Rotary.

After today’s Oregon Club luncheon, Kelly arrived at about 12:45 p.m. to greet donors as they drove up to the Mo Center. At one point, around 1:20 p.m., the line of cars waiting to unload donations was seven deep.

The truck full of donations will be unloaded in the Bay Area on Wednesday, and on Friday will leave for Samoa by ship.

Student-Athletes Organize Relief Effort for Samoa Island Victims

 Intercollegiate athletes from the University of Oregon are helping to organize a relief effort for the victims of last week’s earthquake that led to a tsunami that hit Samoa and American Samoa.


Spearheaded by the Ducks’ football program, Oregon athletes will organize a collection center to accept non-perishable food items Monday, Oct. 12, from noon until 5 p.m., at the Len Casanova Center. Food items of specific need include bottled water, canned goods, flour, rice and sugar. Also in demand are first aid kits, tents and wheelchairs.


Athletes will accept the items from anyone choosing to donate to the cause and load them on a truck that will depart for the Samoan Christian Fellowship in Fairfield, Calif., Monday evening. The items will be shipped from the San Francisco area to the Samoan Islands.

The athletic department has asked that contributions consist of food items and medical supplies only, and is unable to accept cash donations at this time.

Included among Oregon athletes who have relatives still living in the Samoan Islands are football players Andrew Iupati, Jeremiah Masoli and Simi Toeaina; softball player Monique Fuiava; and volleyball standout Neticia Enesi.

Tavita Tusitala

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Civil War: Toeaina's extra incentive
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2009, 04:00:48 PM »
Civil War: Toeaina's extra incentive

Oregon defensive end Simi Toeaina has an extra reason to hope the Ducks make it to the Rose Bowl: The game will be seen in his home country of American Samoa.

“Oregon made a lot of fans out there,’’ Toeaina said. “We don’t get many games out there, but we definitely get the Rose Bowl. If we make it, it will be good for our team.’’

Toeaina, along with quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, helped organize a relief effort after the tsunami that hit the area on Sept. 29.

The Ducks collected some 18 tons of food and supplies, and the truck drivers who delivered them to the Bay Area, where the supplies were loaded onto a ship, were honored during the Arizona State game on Nov. 14.



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