Saturday, December 24, 2016

Area hoops figures Siler, Quarles, and Shine lead by example with giving ways

For the fifth consecutive year, long time friends Garret Siler and Jamie Quarles, teammates during Augusta University's most successful period of basketball dominance, orchestrated the delivery of free holiday meals Saturday to families across the area. Dozens gathered behind the Publix on Washinton Road near the Augusta National, forming the "Big G Foundation delivery team," to deliver more than 100 turkey dinners to families in need.





The foundation has Siler and Quarles as board members. And the duo uses the proceeds from Siler's annual basketball camp, which is held every summer for a week, to help fund part of the total cost of the meals.
Siler and Quarles had lots of help from Jaguar supporters Saturday. 

The two first met as teammates on the basketball team at Richmond Academy before becoming Jaguars. "We graduated in 2004. Been besties since," Quarles texted Saturday after the end of the event Siler called a "record setting success."

Siler has played professionally, including a run with the Phoenix Suns, for the almost ten years since finishing at Augusta University. Quarles is in his sixth season as Augusta's assistant coach.

Darrin Shine saw a need and met it in overwhelming fashion


Darrin Shine has distributed 1,500 pairs of sneakers during the past three holiday seasons.

Another Richmond Academy graduate, Darrin Shine, also has a several year long streak of providing people with something extra special during the holidays. Three years ago Shine, who starred on the hardwood at Delaware State and led the Hornets to an NCAA tournament appearance in 2005, noticed something about the children he has worked with doing his job at the Augusta Recreation and Parks Department:

"I'm pretty much a sneaker head. So when the kids saw me with different sneakers on, they would always ask me can they have my sneakers. Or I would hear them say things like they wish their parents can afford those sneakers," Shine explained.

After one of the children came one day to the recreation center with no shoes, Shine brought him a pair of his to keep the following day. That was when the idea hatched for the "Kickz 4 Kidz Sneaker Give Away," which just saw its third year. Shine has helped put sneakers in the hands of more than 1,500 children already.



"I reach out to all my peers, friends, and family, and see if they have any old sneakers that they would like to donate for the cause. For the most part, most people do. Some go as far as buying new ones," Shine told me in a message Saturday.

In addition to his charity work and his job as a program coordinator at the Carrie Mays Community Center, Shine spends many of the hours the rest of us use for sleep at a 2,000 square foot facility on Perkins Road training aspiring basketball players.

Men like Shine, Siler, and Quarles are great representatives of our basketball community. And their deeds are the kinds that give the Christmas season its reputation for inspiring giving and service to others.

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