ATHLETES GIVING BACK

By Jennifer Jones, communications director, Bennion Community Service Center

University of Utah athletes who make time to serve others were honored Saturday at the Utah vs. Washington game with an award designed to recognize their contributions outside the sports environment.

Ute gymnast Maddy Stover and swimmer Gabriella Hestwood received the 2016 Utah Athletes in Service award during a midfield ceremony Saturday.

Gabby Hestwood, Utah swimming and diving August 26, 2016 in Salt Lake City, UT. (Photo / Steve C. Wilson / University of Utah)

Gabby Hestwood, Utah swimming and diving August 26, 2016 in Salt Lake City, UT. (Photo / Steve C. Wilson / University of Utah)

“The Bennion Center strongly encourages community engagement as an important part of a college

education,” said Dean McGovern, Bennion Center executive director. “These student-athletes serve as role models on and off the field, court or track. We recognize them for giving back to the community in spite of their busy academic and athletic schedules.”

Hestwood volunteers eight to 10 hours per week at University Hospital where she helps transport

patients for X-rays and other tests.

“I enjoy helping people in any way that I can,” she said. “My end goal is to become a doctor, and I think volunteering gives me valuable experience interacting with people.”

U gymnast Maddy Stover.

U gymnast Maddy Stover.

Maddy Stover spent more than 50 hours volunteering last year. She served at the Boys & Girls Club, Primary Children’s Hospital, Ronald McDonald House and the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, as well as volunteering at her church.

“I have learned that everyone has a story, and taking the time to hear that story can impact the way you view your own life and gives you perspective,” said Stover.

Hestwood agreed, “I enjoy engaging in community service because it allows me to take a step back and realize how lucky I am to have the opportunities that I do. If I can make an impact on just one person’s life in the process of volunteering, then I would consider it a huge success.”

Stover said her service has helped her fall in love with the people of Salt Lake City. She said they’re the best fans in the world.