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Spirit to Serve

December 21, 2012

Photo: These Campbellsville University baseball and softball players were just some of many who helped make and donate shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child. Shown (L-R) are Tyler Schmunk; Jeff Larabee; Ryan Squires; Dr. Ted Taylor, CU relay center coordinator; Jordan Alves, CU baseball student assistant coach; Bryce White, CU softball assistant coach; Kacie Vincent, Dr. Michael V. Carter, CU president, and Emma Napier.

By Jordan Cornett, Campbellsville University (Ky.) Sports Information

Campbellsville University (Ky.) student-athletes proved they care about more than just their sport earlier this month. Dozens of CU student-athletes made a community and campus-wide effort to help with Operation Christmas Child (OCC) from Nov. 12 to Nov. 19. The university served as Taylor County's Relay Center for OCC, meaning a lot of help was needed. CU athletics teams were among the first to respond.

"Our coaches and athletics department really focus on developing champions of character, and that is what we saw last week during OCC," said Relay Coordinator and CU professor, Dr. Ted Taylor. "What athletes do in their area of play is important, but what they do beyond that is just as important. I really saw a giving spirit and servant leadership that supports that 'more than a game' emphasis."

Eight teams directly participated in the effort, with many other individual athletes contributing as well. The women's bowling, women's junior varsity basketball, track, and cross country teams all volunteered as a group at the relay center. Here, they received boxes coming in from the community. They then counted, rubber-banded, and packaged them to be ready for shipping.

"It was a big job, but it was a blast," said women's junior varsity basketball member Kristin King. "I thought it was neat seeing how everybody helped out. Not just the university, but the community too. God is doing a lot through OCC."

The Campbellsville freshmen class produced 343 shoeboxes, which they dedicated in a service at the chapel.  The women's varsity basketball team stepped up to help move these from the school to the relay center, a job requiring quite a bit of manpower.

Baseball, softball, and volleyball made great contributions as well, bringing forth more than 60 boxes among those teams. CU's bowling, track and field and football programs also got involved, and CU hosted an OCC Shoebox Drive for its Nov. 15 basketball games against the University of Pikeville.

Taylor County collected a total of 5,238 boxes by the end of the week, with more than 1,000 coming from the university.