Published: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at 05:16 PM.

When Laurel Hill School teacher and coach Ronnie Smith asked me to do a story on a fundraiser for former LHS athlete Katie Free, I was more than happy to help.

I had the opportunity to cover Katie throughout her Hobo career, and sShe has always been a great ambassador for the school and community.

A Boston butt fundraiser is 3-6 p.m. Feb. 21 across from Laurel Hill School. Butts cost $20 each and proceeds benefit Free, who awaits a heart transplant.

It didn't surprise me that Smith and others within the Laurel Hill community wanted to help Smith. Small towns and teammates have a way of reaching out to one of their own.

My little corner of the world was shaken about the time I was writing the story on Katie's fundraiser, which appeared in Saturday's News Bulletin.

Last week, I learned that one of my high school teammates and best friends, Mort Deer, has throat cancer and is in a hospital in Mobile.

Mort played receiver for Gulf Breeze High School's football team and was a sprinter and long jumper on the Dolphin track team. He competed against Crestview and Baker in track and played football at Jack Foster Stadium. He even once served as a makeshift windshield wiper for the track team one day, but that's another story.

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