/assets/1/19/Todd_Blackledge_Web.jpg?95747

Todd Blackledge: Providing hope in midst of coronavirus pandemic

Todd Blackledge: Providing hope in midst of coronavirus pandemic

See All News

Story Courtesy of the Canton Rep

When Todd Blackledge looked down at the text he received three days ago from a fellow ESPN announcer, he had no idea how much it was about to change some lives in Stark County.

The group message was from Dave Pasch, an ESPN college football and NBA play-by-play TV announcer. It was sent to about a dozen others in the business.

Blackledge, who graduated from Hoover High School and lives in Stark County, was among the other fellow TV announcers to learn of Pasch’s idea.

Pasch, who lives in Phoenix, planned to help people pay bills or help overcome burdens they’ve encountered since the coronavirus pandemic hit. He was asking for their collective social media pull to help spread the word.

Blackledge did something better.

He’s helping spread the love.

The Canton Repository is looking to tell the stories of ordinary people doing extraordinary acts of kindness to brighten the lives of those in Stark County during this time. Nominations can be sent to by going to https://bit.ly/starkheroes

Blackledge retweeted Pasch’s tweet. Then he started thinking about doing something himself.

“The first person to hit me up on social media that I had an opportunity to do something for was a woman in Glendale,” Blackledge said. “So I was able to ship her some diapers through Amazon. And that was really cool to be able to help someone but I thought maybe I should target it to my area.”

So Blackledge sent a tweet seeking people who have been affected by the coronavoris, followed by Acts 20:35, in which Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

So far Blackledge has received about two dozen requests and he has assisted about six. “It’s just starting to get off the ground here,” Blackledge said. “I try to sift through them and filter them. ... It’s been pretty cool.”

One of the requests came from a woman who is being quarantined. She is suspected of having COVID-19 and won’t be able to pay her rent. Blackledge paid the rent. He paid medical bills for one family.

Blackledge was reluctant to talk about the deeds, but agreed it might convince others to help where they can.

“This is a scary situation. There are a lot of unknowns,” Blackledge said. “But as men of faith, this is an opportunity to kind of let your light shine and put the love of Jesus in action. ... I’ve always been very involved in church and very faithful with tithes but this is one of those times where you can see it and feel it. This isn’t just giving to an organization. It’s helping people.”

Back to news