MEDFORD, Ore--- Former South Medford and University of Oregon football standout Brady Breeze's first instinct was to come home after the Almeda Fire.
Breeze had driven down Highway 99 on the way back from Shasta Lake on Monday, September 7.
"We literally drove on the street where it all happened, where everything got burned down," said Breeze. "Then, to come back a week later and see how everything looked. "It was pretty emotional for me because all you could see was chimneys and car frames and just stuff. And you know how many people care about those areas and how many people lost their businesses and stuff, and lost their houses. It was like, jeez you know? This is the place where I grew up but seeing it like this was something I never could have imagined."
Breeze is in the midst of preparing the 2021 NFL Draft after opting out of the 2020-21 college football season. Breeze is coming off a breakout season that ended with him winning the Rose Bowl Defensive MVP. Even through what must be an extremely busy schedule, Breeze found time to volunteer at Orchard Hill Elementary.
"I came back and drove around the town and looked at everything," said Breeze. "Then, I went down to Orchard Hill Elementary and helped give out some stuff."
The former Oregon safety understood that sometimes the only help he would be able help would be to lend his ears.
"It was refreshing for me to let them know that I am here for them," said Breeze "I don't know the people seemed, they were obviously upset but they were in good spirits. They were trying to stay positive. They were saying stuff like, "Here look I still have my high school yearbook," and things like that. People were finding ways to stay positive. So, that kind of gave me some hope."
NewsWatch 12 Sports will be featuring much more on our interview with Breeze in the first 2020 episode of "College Football Gamenight." The edition will air on Saturday, November 7, 2020. We will talk about Breeze's favorite memories from South Medford High School, the University of Oregon, and his football journey as he prepares for the NFL Draft.