This is Home: “Mad’s Muscle Men” gives back to the recovery community

WTAP News @ 10
Published: Sep. 2, 2022 at 11:21 PM EDT
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PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - At the age of 14 Maddox Rader, now a junior at Parkersburg South High School, and his friend went to the bathroom at Parkersburg City Park during tennis practice. Rader and his friend found a man who died from an overdose.

Maddox said the trauma from that lead him to find a way to help others affected by opioid addictions. He said those people have family and friends who care about them deeply.

That’s the story behind “Mad’s Muscle Men” and why these young men are changing their community by simply giving a helping hand.

During the summer of 2022, Maddox Rader started his nonprofit “Mad’s Muscle Men” to raise money for kids and their families affected by opioid addictions.

“I really like to help my community out for some of them were given the wrong hand in life so it’s not fair for them to like go through that so I could just help them out,” Maddox said.

He recruited some of his teammates from the Parkersburg South football team, Dylan Fleak, Evan Cottrill, Aden Swisher, Kaidyn Johnson, and Aeneas Lauderman to come out and volunteer their time through various jobs such as moving furniture, mowing lawns, and landscaping. Maddox also recruited his brother Bowen to come out and help as well.

One of those jobs was moving furniture for Jade Thompson, a co-worker of Maddox and Bowen’s dad at Marietta High School.

Heath Rader messaged his colleagues at Marietta High School about “Mad’s Muscle Men” to spread the word. Thompson needed help moving furniture into her house and her friend’s house so they volunteered and moved the furniture for her.

Thompson said she loves seeing the nonprofit get some recognition and hopes to see it continue to grow.

“It’s so heartwarming to see young people have a service heart and it’s so important because you know that’s how our community is run by people who do things and aren’t paid for them and you know to see people with a service heart, I have a service heart, and it’s nice to see that and it’s heartwarming to see young kids especially starting something on their own.”

Many of Maddox’s teammates thought at first they were just helping out a friend, but it became much more than they ever could’ve thought.

“It means a lot because at first I was just helping out a friend but then I realized it was actually contributing to the community and helping out families that went through traumatic experiences so it means a lot to me,” Fleak said.

“If I’m just sitting there and I hear that one of my friends needs help, you know moving furniture or doing some sort of volunteer work I’m just like you know why not go help with that because the more hands you have the less work everybody else has to do so I just kind of decided to chip in and help out with that,” Lauderman said.

“Mad’s Muscle Men” has had about seven jobs in total and raised more than $1200. Maddox donated $1000 to the Wood County Prevention Coalition during its town hall meeting on August 25.

On August 28, “Mad’s Muscle Men” volunteered their time at Pete’s Pizza by moving pizza ovens and other equipment from its Parkersburg location to its Mineral Wells location. After five hours of hard work, the owners of Pete’s Pizza, Jodi and Rusty Damron donated $500 to “Mad’s Muscle Men”.

Jodi Damron said the work these men are doing to help the recovery community doesn’t go unnoticed.

Back on December 8, Pete’s Pizza in Parkersburg was broken into by Joshua McCune. He removed an air conditioning unit, crawled in through the wall, and stole a few hundred dollars from the cash register just to as he says have enough money to buy food.

After hearing McCune’s life story and struggles, the Damron’s gave McCune a job. Eight months later, the story of the robbery came back full circle as McCune is still working for Pete’s Pizza and he says he is clean.

Jodi Damron said it’s people like josh that should remind everyone why it is so important to keep helping.

“You’re looking at a man that will benefit from that and he can tell you because he has spent his life helping other people,” Damron said. “He can tell you how important that is to not forget that they’re somebody’s son, somebody’s kids, they are somebody’s dad, they are somebody’s family, they’re somebody’s friend and even though you may look at these people like they are a lost cause they’re not because they mean an exponential amount to somebody else.”

Maddox said for the future of the nonprofit, he wants to create a scholarship fund to help kids who were affected by addiction further their education.

You can contact “Mad’s Muscle Men” on Facebook.