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Peterson donates $100,000 to hometown ravaged by flood

HOUSTON, Texas -- News of the deadly flood last weekend in his hometown of Palestine, Texas, hit Vikings running back Adrian Peterson hard, and he wants to do what he can to help.

HOUSTON, Texas -- News of the deadly flood last weekend in his hometown of Palestine, Texas, hit Vikings running back Adrian Peterson hard, and he wants to do what he can to help.

Peterson said Wednesday that he will donate $100,000 to flood victims in Palestine, where six died following torrential rains. He has partnered with the Salvation Army for others to donate, and he said he will match whatever is raised.

“At least $500,000, for sure,’’ Peterson said of the total amount he hopes will be raised. “I just want to give back to my community, which means so much to me. To see the devastation there was difficult.’’

Peterson was born and raised in the city of 19,000, which is about two hours southeast of Dallas. He starred at Palestine High School before going on to the University of Oklahoma and the Vikings.

Torrential rains hit the area last weekend. Some residents sought shelter on the roofs of their homes.

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Among the dead were four children. One of the two adults killed was Giovani Olivas, who was a football teammate of Peterson in high school.

“I had known him from elementary school all the way through high school,’’ Peterson said. “I hadn’t talked to him in awhile. But when you go back to Palestine and you catch up with guys that you’ve been separated for years from, it’s like you reconnect with them like you never missed the person.’’

Peterson, who makes his offseason home in Houston, plans to be in Palestine this week to assess the damage. He has heard about 35 homes were “significantly affected by the flood” as well as businesses in the central part of town.

“I want to be able to help out with a significant amount, especially the families that lost their entire house and didn’t have flood insurance,’’ Peterson said. “They pretty much lost everything they worked for their whole lifetime to provide for their kids. … I know people who own businesses there that were affected, so to be able to help the community get back on its feet, it was a no-brainer to me.’’

Peterson annually returns to Palestine for “Adrian Peterson Day” in June, when he is honored by town residents. He often has spoken about how much his community means to him.

Peterson has been checking with family members since last weekend. He said he is thankful all are safe and their homes did not incur significant damage.

The four children who died ranged in age from 6 to 9. That shook up Peterson.

“When you hear the kids were about the same age as some of my kids, and their lives were taken away from them because of something coming out the blue, that kind of puts things in perspective,’’ Peterson said. “It’s never really flooded in Palestine before.’’

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Those who wish to donate can text “AP28” to 51555 or can go to The Salvation Army website .

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