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Former St. James football standout raising money to help Southeast Louisiana

VACHERIE — Prep football fans in the River Parishes might remember that Shawn Preston Jr. was a No. 38 prospect in Louisiana under the guidance of Coach Robert Valdez at St. James High School. Shawn Jr. is now a red shirt junior playing college ball at Mississippi State, but he is staying true to his Louisiana roots by giving back to his community in a time of need.

He has set up a GoFundme at https://www.gofundme.com/f/helping-out-southern-louisiana with a goal of raising $5,000 for Hurricane Ida recovery in Southeast Louisiana.

Shawn Jr. has already partnered with Louisiana State Represenative Ken Brass and Lafourche Parish Councilman Jerry Jones to receive guidance on how to most effectively allocate funds.

As of Monday evening, the GoFundme had collected just short of $1,400 in donations.

While Shawn Jr. is playing football in Mississippi State until the end of the season in December, he wanted to use his platform to make a meaningful difference back home.

His younger brother, Shazz Preston, is a standout Class of 2022 football player for St. James High. Their father, Shawn Preston Sr., has a legacy of coaching football in Southeast Louisiana.

Shawn Sr. has instilled in his sons that God blesses those who bless others. He also instilled an important message about their role as football players: “Don’t let the ball use you. You use the ball.”

“I always tell him that there’s a lot of avenues that you can use football for good. Using the ball does not always mean going to the NFL. This is a prime example. It’s using your platform as a football player to help people in a time of need,” Shawn Sr. said. “I’m proud that he has given time to think about the others back home even though he’s in a place where he’s not dealing with some of the same misfortunes and discomfort as we are down here…For that to be rubbing off on the boys at an early age, it’s something for a parent to be proud of.”

Shawn Sr. said they will be leaning heavily on the advice of Representative Brass when it is time to distribute the donations. He believes this will give the community peace of mind that their donations will make an impact.

“Mr. Brass has more boots on the ground and a pulse on the needs of the community. We are going to take his advice on where to spend those funds,” he said.