After COVID-19 began to force statewide stay-at-home orders in March, Towson head football coach Rob Ambrose started to post on Twitter that he and his family are willing to assist others in the nearby community with running errands, particularly the elderly, sick and single parents. It's grown to him not just picking up medication or food, but running to the local landfill and doing yard work for others.
"As long as we were healthy," Ambrose said Monday, referencing he and his wife Melissa, "we just decided when this thing started that if anybody needed help, we were going to be there, whatever it is they needed. Funny, when it started, nobody really needed anything, and I talked to my staff about it and said, 'This is community service, we constantly do this. Now more than ever, it's important that people know that they have a safety net, that they don't feel helpless - that if they need, someone's going to be there to answer the call.'"
His offer to help others has been as meaningful as Ambrose's actions. Those who know the 49-year-old coach wouldn't be surprised because of the responsibility he feels toward helping others.
Towson Athletics has often been recognized for public service. The football team, which is coming off a second straight 7-5 season, played a big role two years ago in the athletic program winning an NCAA Division I competition that recognizes giving back to the community.
So while some of his players are volunteering back at home during the pandemic, Ambrose is helping to bring together his community near campus.
"What it really did was it started a conversation between neighbors," he said. "Like, if this guy is willing to do this for anyone that he doesn't know, why am I not doing this for the guy next door or the elderly lady three doors down or the woman who has four kids and she's a single mom and working from home and homeschooling her kids? All of a sudden, that (social media) post kind of got people talking to each other and the people are casually just helping each other out."
Ambrose is looking forward to getting students back on Towson's closed campus in Maryland and doing what he does best - coach football at his alma mater. Now in his 12th season, he was recognized as the 2011 FCS coach of the year with the Eddie Robinson Award (now presented by Stats Perform), and he guided the Tigers to a national runner-up finish in 2013.
"We need to make decisions from intelligence and not fear as we move forward," Ambrose said. "People are our greatest resource on the planet, we need to take care of them.
"I know sports have always been something that people could look to keep us together, keep us happy, keep us sane in times of stress. I know people need it. I know I need it."
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