When one thinks of Jacksonville Indian pride at the Tomato Bowl, thoughts of an exciting Tribe football game, maybe an Indian or Maiden soccer match or even a stirring halftime performance by the Jacksonville Marching Band may come to mind.
There's another kind of Indian pride that is alive and well at the Tomato Bowl, according to Ricky Carpenter, who is in charge of the Cherokee County Community Service Department.
On Saturday mornings following every Jacksonville home football game this fall, Carpenter directed a group that typically consisted of a half dozen men and two females.
Those individuals were responsible for ridding the Tomato Bowl of all the trash that had accumulated in the seating areas, along the concourse and at the concession stands the night before.
The men and women performing the actual work were fulfilling a portion of their respective debt to society and were completing a party of their sentences for convictions of various misdemeanor offenses such as first-offense DWI.
“As a part of fulfilling their community service, as sentenced by a judge, these men and women were required to work a certain number of hours for a non-profit organization,” Carpenter said. “They came out on Saturday mornings and worked hard to restore the Tomato Bowl to the proper order and to have it clean and ready to go for the next event.”
Jacksonville High School coach Cecil Newton, whose duties include responsibility for many of the Tomato Bowl's operations, said that he was extremely pleased with both the dependability and quality of work that the clean-up team performed.
“I can't say enough good things about the job that Ricky's (Carpenter) bunch did each week,” Newton said. “They were always here when they were supposed to be and they did an excellent job in performing their duties.
“Not only was their work done professionally, but it was done at no cost to the Jacksonville Independent School District.”
Carpenter, a 1984 graduate of Jacksonville High School himself, said that he was not at all surprised by the fine job that was turned in by those working to complete their community service.
“A lot of the people that worked at the Tomato Bowl graduated from Jacksonville High School and I found that it was important to them to do a good job because they took pride in the Tomato Bowl and they had respect for their school and this led them to complete their duties in such a way to reflect that,” Carpenter said.