12 Mighty Orphans - The Story
Throughout the gritty, grueling years of The Great Depression a group of scrawny orphans and a bespectacled math teacher capture the hearts of a city, a state and an entire nation.
In 1927, Rusty Russell accepts a teaching position at the Masonic Home Orphanage in Fort Worth, Texas and immediately realizes that most of these orphans lacked self esteem and motivation. Russell, understanding the benefits of team sports, gets permission to start a football team despite not having a single piece of equipment, not even a football. A year later, Hardy Brown enters the orphanage as a five year old after witnessing the vicious murder of his bootlegging father. Immediately, a connection between the two is present. As Hardy grows older, Russell sees in him the passion and potential to help his rising football program, while Hardy finds the bone-jarring contact sport to be an outlet for the anger he feels from the loss of his family.
The astounding success of the football program becomes the unifying agent throughout The Home, creating an environment of pride and accomplishment. The orphans no longer consider themselves second-class citizens but equals to all and they begin to excel not only on the athletic field but in all areas of life. With this new found sense of self and pride the orphans no longer fear the outside world but yearn to be a part of it. One couple creatively manages to overcome the strict segregation of genders in the orphanage, finding lasting love through various escapades to develop a romantic relationship.
Over the next thirteen years, Rusty Russell and Hardy Brown impact one another and establish a culture of success all around them. In the process, they inspire not only their orphanage, but the entire nation with a remindful message of hope and encouragement that anything is possible in spite of all odds.
Based on the book by award-winning, best-selling author Jim Dent, Twelve Mighty Orphans is more than a story about football, or The Great Depression or of hardship. It is a story of resilience, love, growing up, overcoming the harshest of obstacles, finding family and creating life-long bonds stronger than blood. This is the amazing true story of the strength of the human spirit.