Still Thankful

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Earlier this season, we featured the story of swimmer turned walk-on football player Boomer Roepke, who was the Trojans good luck charm on the road this season.  USC finished 4-0 when Roepke traveled, but the latest win at Oregon came after a less than charmed week. 

On the day before the game, Roepke received a call from his father saying that Boomer's parents would not be at the game because their family home had burned down in the Reno wildfires.

Boomer-Roepke.JPG"It was like one in the morning and my parents woke up because they smelled something," Roepke told the story.  "They went upstairs and looked outside and the sky was red."

The neighbors' house was already up in flames, so the Roepke's grabbed their valuable possessions, which included Boomer's Emerald Bowl jersey.  The fire was started by fallen electrical poles and spread quickly with winds up to 70 MPH. 

The entire top floor of the Roepke's home, which sits on a hillside, was destroyed by flames.  The family is living in a hotel for now.

"I was so stoked that we won against Oregon," said an emotional Roepke.  "That really meant a lot to me since my parents were not able to be there to see it."

The family plans to tear down the remainder of the house and rebuild.  While the effervescent Boomer is down about the loss, he has gained enough perspective to realize that homes can be replaced, but the people in them are what really matters.

"It just really makes you appreciate everything that you have, especially that my parents are OK," he said. 

The Roepke's will be together for Thanksgiving today and are looking forward to another special victory this weekend.

"It's going to be sweet going against UCLA," he said.  "I want to beat them so bad.  It'll be a great win if everybody plays as well as they can."

(Photo by John McGillen)

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