This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Four days before the NBA's All-Star Break, a tornado touched down in Hattiesburg, Miss., destroying or damaging more than 800 homes in the college town of a little more than 50,000 people. The Washington Post said the fact no one died was a "miracle."
Jazz forward Al Jefferson is from Prentiss, a much smaller town less than an hour out of Hattiesburg. And while he planned on spending his weekend at home, he couldn't have anticipated how it would go.
According to a report from local WDAM TV, Jefferson visited the hardest hit areas on Saturday, spending time with affected families. He told the TV station he plans to buy one of the families a new car.
"If I could just help someone get through this," Jefferson said, "it would make me feel better, like I did my part, so I'm grateful for that...I'm happy to come and just do what I can."