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Fort Mitchell to provide aid to soccer sister city Mayfield

Mayfield is far from northern Kentucky.

But a local community, particularly Fort Mitchell, maintains a close friendship with the small town in far western Kentucky, which was devastated by tornadoes that swept through western Kentucky Friday night.

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Saturday there were at least 70 confirmed deaths in that part of the state.

The cities have been rivals on the football pitch for decades. Just two weeks ago, Beechwood High School defeated Mayfield in the KHSAA Class 2A State Semifinals en route to the state championship on Dec. 3.

Why Beechwood decided to help

It was Beechwood’s first win over Mayfield in nine playoff meetings since 1995, including eight in the last 20 seasons. The cities, more than 300 miles apart, have a great familiarity with each other through these long journeys.

Beechwood principal Justin Kaiser announced on social media on Saturday evening that the school will send a tractor-trailer to Mayfield next week with supplies to help families who are currently without shelter, food or other supplies.

“Beechwood has shared many battles with Mayfield over the years, but these pale in comparison to the battle they face right now,” Kaiser said in the memo. “So Beechwood Independent Schools and the City of Fort Mitchell will team up to show our support for students and families in and around Mayfield.”

How to donate to help those affected in Mayfield

Beechwood will be accepting donations at its secondary and elementary school offices all through next week, and larger donations can be dropped off at the tractor-trailer after agreeing with the main office.

The Mayfield football team warm up before their match with Beechwood on November 26, 2021.

Donations include basic supplies such as bottled water, personal care products, cleaning supplies, baby products, first aid items, non-perishable food and snacks, toys, winter clothes, flashlights and batteries.

The trailer will be at Beechwood until Thursday.

Beechwood is also accepting monetary donations and setting up a link to send money directly to the Mayfield School District. The Mayfield United Way is also accepting donations.

Mayfield football team at Beechwood during a playoff game in 2014.

“We are all going to do everything we can to help them”

The Beechwood Football Program tweeted its support for its playoff rival on Saturday, saying: “Every time we stepped onto the field with (Mayfield) it was an extremely uphill battle until the very end. The players and coaches are tough, uncompromising blue collar workers and they embody the entire Mayfield community. We pray that they overcome the devastation of last night and heal and rebuild their community. We know they can do it.

The tractor-trailer was donated by Brad Ratliff, a 1997 Beechwood graduate and former football player, who is vice president of operations at Lighthouse Transportation. Ratliff said his friends in the Beechwood community were working on other ideas to help out as the week progressed.

“It struck a big chord with a lot of my former teammates, and I know quite a few players who have played them over the years,” Ratliff said. “We’re all going to do whatever we can to help them.”

Beechwood is not alone. On Saturday evening, the Boone County School District and the Fort Thomas School District announced similar plans to collect donations. The Kenton County District announced its plans on Sunday morning. These districts and others coordinate their efforts with the Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services.