The entire Ishpeming Hematite football team is leaving for New York City on Monday to celebrate Eric Dompierre's win in the Sports Illustrated Underdog contest. It's all thanks to thousands of dollars in donations.
"These kids have been through a lot and they deserve it, and trust me, they will pay this forward to the community. They're very appreciative of it," said "Team Mom," Connie Bertucci.
Sports Illustrated originally told the team they would fly 10 of them to the event, but Dean Dompierre insisted that the whole team go, so they chartered a bus.
But there's a catch, they needed to raise money for hotel rooms. And since Team Mom Connie Bertucci made a Facebook post asking for donations, they came pouring in from all over the country.
They say they don't have an exact amount yet, but they've received well over double the original amount of $3,200. And donations are still coming in.
"We did a news release right away because we didn't want people thinking we were still taking their money even though we met our limit, and they didn't care. They said (to) put it toward something, put it toward snacks, whatever they could do. They just want to be a part of it," Bertucci added.
And for some local businesses, they felt the same.
"When the community is asked, they always step up. We live in a very generous area, and these kids earned it and I think everyone thought it," said Elizabeth Petersen from the Greater Ishpeming-Negaunee Area Chamber of Commerce.
The team will head out to NYC on Monday.