Fever, Pacers Host a Night for Victims of Southside Explosion

by Manny Randhawa

November 16, 2012

The explosion that tragically took two lives and destroyed dozens of homes last week on the Southside of Indianapolis was an event that was felt deep in the heart of Indiana Fever star Katie Douglas.

“I was born on the Southside,” she said. “I live on the Southside. This happened only miles from where we just won the WNBA title. This happened just a few miles from where I grew up.”

Douglas and teammate Tamika Catchings joined with Indiana Pacers’ star and Indianapolis native George Hill to host the victims of the Southside explosion in an event where they could get away, even for just a couple of hours, from being consumed by their shocking circumstances.

Catchings was looking forward to embracing the victims. “I can’t wait to see them and share some hugs,” said the WNBA Finals MVP.

The residents affected by the explosion were invited to attend Friday night’s Pacers game against the Dallas Mavericks, along with dinner and a post-game meet-and-greet with Catchings and Hill.

“I think it’s great for the neighborhood, for them to step up and help all of us,” said Southside resident Barry Chippe. “There were a lot of people who were really devastated. It’s outstanding that they would do this.”

Hill, who went to Broad Ripple High School and then IUPUI, emphasized how much he wanted to take some kind of action to help his neighbors in need. “Like Katie, this is home for me,” he said. “When you see neighbors in trouble you have to do something. For me it’s a no-brainer to reach out to the Richmond community, just to put a smile on their face, to get them away from the tragedy that happened.”

As Hill signed autographs and posed for pictures with the residents in attendance, Art Pretti summed up what this event meant to a community that has been going through such a difficult trial. “With everything that’s gone on, I think it’s exactly what the community needed,” Pretti said. “It’s a night away from the day-in, day-out stuff that we’re dealing with.”

As devastating as the explosion was for all affected, the Fever and Pacers hope that being treated to a big win over the Mavs and being honored for their perseverance in the midst of a trying time in their lives, will even in the smallest way alleviate their burdens if only for a night.

“We wanted to provide these people with a chance to get away from all they have been dealing with,” Catchings remarked. “And if even for just a few hours, enjoy a fun evening.”