Spartan athletes, coaches, gather to give back to community
Proceeds from the golf outing and the live and silent auction that followed will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Children’s Miracle Network of Sparrow Hospital and Special Olympics of Michigan.
“I think this year we’re right around 45 foursomes,” event host and former MSU quarterback Drew Stanton said. “In the past we’ve had goals as far as redoing the teen room at Sparrow Hospital ... and then the treatment room the year before. ... We’re going to try to help the Lansing area in particular — their Special Olympics is in need of assistance, and that’s what we’re here for.”
Stanton, who has hosted the event for the past six years, said the outing began in Marshall, Mich., eight years ago, but moved to Lansing after three years.
Last year, the High 5ive Foundation donated $60,000 to charities.
“We wanted to move it to Lansing ... having more resources up here. We wanted to make a bigger impact and try to raise more money,” he said. “By doing that, we’ve continued to grow each year, and it’s provided us the opportunity to give back even more than we could hope for.”
Head football coach Mark Dantonio said it is very important to him to see his former and current athletes giving back in such a huge way.
“One of our basic goals of our program is to be givers, not takers,” he said. “Once they understand that they can do these type of things, it’s something they’ll be able to do the rest of their lives.”
Kaleb Thornhill, Director of Player Engagement for the Miami Dolphins and former MSU middle linebacker, said this was his third or fourth year attending the event and he traveled from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to attend.
“I think it’s important that you support people in the community who are doing great things, that continue to stay connected in the Lansing area, that continue to give back to the Spartan nation, that continue to impact people that are disadvantaged — that don’t have the resources that we currently have in our lives on a daily basis, that we’re so fortunate to have,” Thornhill said.
Kyler Elsworth, former MSU linebacker who made the game-winning stop in the Spartans’ Rose Bowl victory, said he feels that giving back to the community is an athletes’ duty since they are in the limelight.
“People look at the football players, basketball players, guys that play in college as larger-than-life figures sometimes,” he said. “If you can use that role to benefit a great cause and bring people out, why not do it?”
Former MSU wide receiver Keith Nichol said he believes such notable victories, such as the Rose Bowl, bring more people to events such as the High 5ive Foundation golf outing.
“The success of the program is bringing in a lot of good things,” he said.