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Time to step up for Tyler Boyd

| Friday, Feb. 10, 2012

Tyler Boyd went to the house 48 times while leading the Clairton football team to its third straight PIAA championship during the 2011 season.

None of that mattered to Boyd when he was informed last weekend that he'll never go to his house again.

Boyd, a junior who is being recruited by programs like Southern Cal and Ohio State, was playing in a basketball game against Bentworth last Saturday. As always, his mom, Tonya Payne, was in attendance.

During the game, Payne was informed that the house she had rented for the past 10 years was on fire.

An electrical fire, it was later determined, ruined her house. Payne and her children, Tyler and Brian, will never live there again.

"I was shocked," Boyd said. "My coach told me during the game. I couldn't believe it. Just total shock."

When the shock wore off, reality set in. His house was gone. Many valuables in that house were gone.

"It has been so hard," Boyd said. "So hard. It hurts."

It's time for the community to help ease his pain.

Boyd has represented Clairton with complete dignity during the first three years of his high school career. He is probably the WPIAL's best football player, and I assure you his character is on an even par with his talent. There is something special about him. He is quiet but confident, competitive but not brash. Boyd and his mom are the epitome of class in every possible way, and they need our help.

It's time to do the right thing.

PNC Bank has started the Tyler Boyd Fund, which is raising money for his family. Payne did not have rental insurance. She and her children are now living in an apartment.

"It's alright for now," Boyd said.

The situation isn't a good one for the family that has represented Clairton so well for so many years.

Some have already helped.

"A lot of people are asking how they can help and donating what they can," Boyd said. "Believe me, we really appreciate it."

It's good to see some people have come through for Boyd and his family. Here's hoping the giving continues.

True, the economy stinks right now. Lots of people are hurting. Clairton isn't Fox Chapel. Money doesn't grow on trees.


But if you've got something to give, you should.

The simple truth is, the city of Clairton only receives positive publicity thanks to its football team. Deny it if you'd like, but the Bears are the city's lifeline. They instill a special pride every fall. Clairton is on the map around the country because of its football team.

And right now, Tyler Boyd is that football team.

The second of Clairton's state titles, in 2010, was earned solely because of Boyd's performance that day in Hershey. During the 2011 season, he carried the Bears. Yet another magical state title run was possible only because of his brilliance.

His maturity had something to do with Clairton's winning, too.

When off-field problems erupted during the season — and this is something any football team must deal with — it was Boyd, normally the quiet one, who spoke up in the locker room. He became a man during his junior season, using the character that his mother so impressively developed to become not just the leader of the Bears, but in a way, a leader in the city.

Boyd gave the city a truly magical ride last fall. The least the rest of us can do is help.

If you haven't seen Boyd play, you're missing out. If you haven't had a conversation with him, you're missing out.

He is a good person. He comes from a good family. No family, of course, deserves to have its home destroyed. That Boyd and his mother are such wonderful people only make this story worse.

If you've seen Boyd play football, then you'll agree with me that the day will come when he can buy his mother a mansion. He's got that kind of gift.

But that won't happen for many years. And until it does, taking care of this family in every way possible is the least the community can do.
Boyd is a treasure. So is his family.

They should be treated as such.

Note: Donations to the Tyler Boyd Fund are only accepted in the form of a check. They are being received by Danette Thompson in the elementary office and Linda Podroskey in the high school office. Checks are also being received at PNC Bank locations. Checks are to be made out to the "Tyler Boyd Fund."

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