On November 20, 2021 at the Stifel Theatre in Downtown St. Louis, GCC Admissions Recruitment Specialist Dan Konopski accepted the Stan Musial Award on behalf of Buffalo Bills fans for their charitable donations to Blessings in a Backpack, a Louisville-based charity that helps feed elementary school students across the country.
While watching the Baltimore-Buffalo AFC playoff game last January from his home in Tonawanda, Konopski, a life-long Bills fan, looked on as Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson exited the game with a head injury late in the third quarter. While Jackson's exit helped Buffalo advance to the AFC Championship, it didn't sit well Konopski. After some research, he discovered that Jackson was affiliated with Blessings in a Backpack and decided to make a donation. He posted the receipt on social media, encouraging others to do the same. Bills fans took notice and a few days later, 18,450 individual donations were made in Jackson's honor and more than $550,000 was raised.
"An individual doing whatever they can to make a difference will always mean something. An army of united and inspired people doing whatever they can do to make a difference means everything. It's a good cause, it was a good game and he's a great player. It just made sense to me at the time. I never imagined it getting to this level but I guess that's just the Bills Mafia way," said Konopski.
Named for Baseball Hall of Famer Stan Musial, the Musial Awards honor the year's greatest moments of sportsmanship. The show is presented by Maryville University and produced by the St. Louis Sports Commission and the National Sportsmanship Foundation, a charitable nonprofit organization. In addition to keeping Stan Musial's legacy alive, the mission of the Musial Awards is to encourage kindness, selflessness, integrity and civility in sports and society - and to inspire people across the nation to be good sports. The event has occurred in St. Louis since 2005. Other 2021 Musial award recipients included Wayne and Janet Gretzky, Bryce Harper and LSU Gymnastics.
The Musial Awards will air on CBS on Christmas Day at 5 p.m. EST
For more information about Blessings in a Backpack, please visit https://www.blessingsinabackpack.org
Photo courtesy of GCC