Twelve members of the Destrehan High School wrestling team, led by their coach, recently banded together for a common goal – and it had absolutely nothing to do with wrestling.
Jodi Scott, the mother of twin wrestling team members Dylan and Devin Inguagiato, reached out to wrestling head coach Joshua Varnado one Monday last month to let him know that if her sons looked tired at practice it was because they were exhausted from helping her that weekend.
Scott, whose biological parents are deceased, was raised by Jerry and Linda Gauthreaux. Scott said she and her boys, along with other family members, spent time cleaning and purging the Gauthreaux’s home. Linda, Scott said, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and it has become an overwhelming task for Jerry to care both for her and their home.
“Coach Varnado is great and said if we need anything to let him know,” Scott said. “I told him we needed help with the backyard, attics, and the piles and piles of junk.”
Varnado planned for himself and the team, including two of the seniors who were done with the season, to go to the Gauthreaux’s home.
“It’s not all about wrestling and winning,” Scott said. “He (Varnado) really cares about his team.”
Varnado and 10 members of the team – Marvin Oliphant, Hunter Badeaux, Luke Berg, Cyric Barnes, Donovan Kimble, Andrew Schafer, Paul Rozas, Kurt Sharon, Trey Nixon, Austin Moran – met in Destrehan and carpooled to Marrero to help Dylan, Devin and others who were already working at the Gauthreaux’s home.
“You could tell that Dylan and Devin were really appreciative that their coach and friends were there,” Scott said. “We cleaned out a carport, three attics, the backyard, closets and made three trips to a dump with trucks and trailers full … my dad was ecstatic … he couldn’t believe all the guys showed up and all the work they did.”
The hard work the team put in that day greatly improved her mom and dad’s living conditions and quality of life, Scott said.
“My guys are a special bunch and value being a family as much as they value being a team,” Varnado said. “Family is one of the core values I hold as a leader and coach of this team … it’s more than just winning on the mat but winning in life.”
Varnado said he and Coach John Fogarty work to build the young people into successful young men and women on the mat, in the classroom, and in their community.
“I hoped they gained a sense of pride and accomplishment as they banded together to help this family,” Varnado said. “We were given an amazing opportunity to help an amazing family … I’m so proud of these young men and all they’ve accomplished.”