BEREA, Ohio -- For the past fifteen years when the Baldwin Wallace University football team comes to preseason camp, each Yellow Jacket football student-athletes returns to campus with a box or bag of school supplies and a note of encouragement for needy children. For a number of years, Head Coach John Snell has worked with Frannie Milward and now Jeff Jackson of the Church Street Ministries Group in Berea in an effort to benefit young children who are not as fortunate as some others.
"We are committed to community service," said Snell, who is in his 15th season at his alma mater and owns a 89-53 career record. "We want our student-athletes to help others. We want them to realize sacrifice and how we can help others in the classroom, off the field and on the field. I think our student-athletes have grown to enjoy the programs and the interaction with others who may be less fortunate than themselves."
The event takes place at the annual opening day Family Team Picnic at Strosaker Hall (the student union). Jackson and some members of his staff join Coach Snell and the team for the picnic. Then the members of the senior class take a group picture with Snell, Jackson and his staff. Then its time for the supplies to be loaded onto a truck and taken to be utilized by children in need.
For the first 13 years, longtime director Frannie Milward joined in the festivities. When she retired two years ago, Jackson, who had assisted Milward in past years, took over and was on hand to thank the Yellow Jackets.
"This is a fantastic event each year and I would like to thank Coach Snell and his staff, the young men who play football at Baldwin Wallace University and the university administration for both their generosity and community service," said Jackson. "We believe in helping others and the school supplies go a long way toward helping so many young children.
"The most important component of the supplies from each BW student-athlete is the beautiful messages of encouragement that the young men write to the children," continued Jackson. "The messages and encouraging and make a difference. We just can't thank Coach Snell, his staff and the wonderful student-athletes more."
The Yellow Jackets continue preseason practices and play their first game on Thursday, September 1 when BW hosts non-league foe Defiance College on Tressel Field at The George Finnie Stadium at 7 p.m. It is the 39th Annual Lee Tressel Shrine Classic Game. BW opens its Ohio Athletic Conference schedule on Saturday, Sept. 17 at John Carroll University at 7 p.m.