Two Notre Dame Fighting Irish football members were recognized Tuesday for their exemplary effort off the field to improve the lives of those around them.
The All Sports Association awarded the Wuerffel Trophy to linebacker Drue Tranquill. The award, sometimes called the “Humanitarian Heisman,” emphasizes community service as its primary criteria, in addition to a student-athletes outstanding effort in the classroom and on the gridiron.
Tranquill, a three-time nominee, volunteers with LifeWorks Ministry, the Food Bank of Northern Indiana, the Center for Homeless, the Boys and Girls Clubs of St. Joseph County and several others. He’s also made three trips to the Dominican Republic for humanitarian missions with Here for Kids International.
Tranquill graduated last May from the university with a degree in mechanical engineering. The two-time captain has been an integral part of the Irish’s stout defense, accumulating 75 tackles — nine for a loss — in addition to 3 1⁄2 sacks, three passes defensed and one fumble recovery.
College football fans, meanwhile, have selected graduate tight end Nic Weishar as captain of the 2018 American Football Coaches Assocation’s Good Works Team.
Weishar kept a promise to his brother Andrew, who succumbed to cancer in 2012, to “pay forward the kindness and generosity he was shown during that fight.” The Andrew Weishar Foundation eases the financial burdens shouldered by families of children stricken with cancer. It has helped more than 160 families and offered more than $850,000 in help to those fighting against this pernicious disease.
Weishar also logged more community service hours than any other teammate during the 2017-2018 academic year.
Tranquill and Weishar have been tangible examples of the university’s aim to enrich hearts in addition to minds. Their dedication to improving communities both local and far away is worth imitating.
We are now just three weeks away from Christmas, a time in which we gather together with our loved ones to express our gratitude for all that we’ve been given. We also recognize the sacrifices of those who came before us, of a selflessness that transformed our lives for good.
I have been tremendously blessed since birth, but even more so since graduating from college 16 years ago. I’ve gotten to know many wonderful people because of our shared affinity for Notre Dame and its football team.
I’d like to tell you about three and encourage you to consider a donation to one (or more) of their charitable efforts:
- Ryan Ritter ’07 is in his fourth year raising funds in memory of Aven Beatty, the two-year-old son of his wife’s college roommate. Little Aven battled leukemia — and a won a few skirmishes along the way! — but passed away in October 2015.
Ritter, the managing editor of Her Loyal Sons, has been raising funds for four years, first through the “Savin’ Aven” Benefit and now through Extra Life, which gives gamers a platform to raise funds for organizations that make a difference.
Ritter’s beneficiary is the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Oklahoma — which aided the family at the end of Aven’s life and funds “critical treatments, healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care.”
“It doesn’t matter that CHF in OKC is over 200 miles away from me. It doesn’t matter that the previous fundraising efforts didn’t save Aven. It doesn’t matter that the only smile I got to see from Aven was via photos,” Ritter wrote in a post shared by the foundation. “What does matter is that I am making a difference. What does matter is that every year Aven’s family gets to see the impact that their son not only has had on me, but on everyone that hears his story and donates in his honor.”
Our Texan friend has raised $5,856 in the past three years — including $3,000 so far this year. Ritter has drank noxious alcoholic concoctions for every $500 raised, so I definitely encourage you to continue producing moments like this:
- When the Irish fanbase was self-immolating in the wreckage of the disastrous 2016 football season, Chris Wilson ’08 saw an opportunity. You could call it an attempt at karmic realignment or simply seizing an opportunity to be a force for positive change. But amid our pain, the Irish fanbase collectively raised $7,355 for the Center for the Homeless.
Wilson, who writes the Rakes Report newsletter, directed a sequel last holiday season that raised an additional $4,232. And now, the trilogy is promising to eclipse the original after a gangbusters first day. At present, Wilson’s effort through his newsletter and podcast, has netted $4,978.
Donate here. I truly enjoy how creative people get with their donation amounts. Consider these recent contributions:
- $49 that represents the peak position of “Crazy Train” on the 1980 UK singles chart.
- $23 for each curse word “my poor mother had to hear during the first half of the USC game.”
- $26 representing a dollar for each time Justin Yoon appears “In the Irish Record Books” list on UND.com.
- If you’ve spent any time interacting with Notre Dame fans on Twitter, chances are you already know Steve Neuman. Neuman, a certified public accountant by trade, tweets under taxbastard. The handle is a on-the-nose reflection of his outsized personality — plentiful blue talk, but a heart as large as the man he used to be.
Neuman is raising funds to ensure that the children of Godfrey-Lee Schools of Wyoming, Michigan, have presents under the Christmas tree. The $5,800 he raised so far was matched by two donors for a total of $15,000!
“I cried having listened to my dad tell stories of nothing Christmases as a kid,” wrote Neuman, who has raised funds previously to provide warm winter outwear for the less fortunate. “I vowed I would make a difference. People have helped me make this a reality. We will raise another $5,000 this year. Plus a client donated a turkey for every family for Christmas this year — 977 turkeys.”
There are many worthwhile organizations that our readers donate to throughout the year. I invite you to share your own stories in the comments section below.