More than 360 student-athletes at Northwestern State joined forces to show their admiration for U.S. military personnel overseas as part of the annual “Christmas in the Southland” initiative by Student-Athlete Advisory Committees at all Southland Conference member institutions.
“Community service is a fundamental function of the Northwestern State student-athlete experience,” said Carrie Crowell, a former NSU soccer team SAAC representative who is now NSU Athletics’ academic coordinator and senior woman administrator, also serving as the SAAC advisor. “Our SAAC is actively involved in coordinating and leading many of our community service efforts. Sometimes our causes reach far beyond the campus and the local area, and doing what we can to join the great people around our country involved with ‘Operation Support Our Troops’ has become a tradition for us each holiday season.”
Marissa Lees of the Lady Demon soccer team is the president of the NSU SAAC. Other officers are vice president Brooke Boening of the softball team, women’s cross country competitor Karensa Ellis as treasurer, and soccer player Cassidy Browning serving as secretary.
Cornist Broadway and Tucker Nims are the football team representatives on NSU’s SAAC. The volleyball reps are Nicole Hajka and Jessica Guitterrez; women’s tennis members are Andrea Nedorostova and Amy Williams; Ellis and Chris Lanier represent cross country while Lees and Browning are the soccer representatives.
Other team representatives are Demon basketball players Gary Stewart and Tyler Washington, Lady Demon basketball’s Ebony Ford and Briana Fuller, baseball’s Matt Baca and Jake Clouatre, Quiana Griffin of the Lady Demon track and field team, Dezrick Williams from the men’s track and field program, and Tara McKenney and Boening from the Lady Demon softball team.
The NSU SAAC members went to their respective teammates and sought items such as toiletries, food and snacks that are welcomed by troops overseas, both for their own use and for gifts to the natives of the countries they are stationed in. The SAAC filled more than 50 shoeboxes filled with items and shipped them to “Operation Support Our Troops,” said Crowell.
Northwestern student-athletes and athletic staff average more than 5,000 community service hours annually with various endeavors.