Playing Through Heartbreak: Ohatchee’s Domonique Thomas dedicates football season to family members killed in tornado

Playing through heartbreak

OHATCHEE, Ala. (WBRC) - As tornado cleanup continues in Calhoun County, former Ohatchee running back Domonique Thomas is trying to stay strong for his family after his mother and grandparents were killed in last week’s tornado.

The first place that comes to mind when Domonique Thomas thinks about his mom or grandparents is Ohatchee’s football stadium.

“My whole family, this whole section would be my family from the bottom to the top,” Domonique said Wednesday pointing at the bleachers.

From the countless touchdowns he’s scored, to celebrating a win, Domonique Thomas’ Mom, Ebonique, and his grandparents, Joe Wayne and Barbara Harris, were always there.

“I remember my last high school game, my grandfather was walking up the ramp and he said ‘let’s go Boogie,’ that’s what he always called me,” Thomas said.

Thomas, who now plays football for Union College in Kentucky, is learning to cope after his mom and grandparents were killed by an EF-3 tornado last week. As he searches for comfort, he finds himself on his high school football field, which holds some of his most cherished memories with his family.

“This is a very special place because after my last game, my mom was always the first one when I walked off the field to pick me up, and I really needed to be there so I could have that same feeling right now,” Thomas said.

Although Thomas is left with cell phone videos that his mom recorded of him playing, hearing her voice in the background gives him strength.

“I used to tell my mom, I was raised by lions. Lions never show what they’re going through. They always have the same mentality even when things are going good or bad. I knew she was struggling or was stressed, but she never showed it. She was strong and that’s what I’m trying to do now,” said Thomas.

His mom and grandparents may not physically be in the stands anymore to watch him play, but they will always have front row tickets to everything in his life.

“I’ve dedicated everything to them. Everything I do for the rest of my life is for them,” said Thomas.

Thomas will return to Kentucky in the coming weeks to finish out his spring football season. As far as his little sister that was injured in the tornado, he said she is getting stronger every day.

Funeral arrangements for Thomas’ family will be Saturday at 1 p.m. at Leatherwood Baptist Church.

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