Being the backup kicker for The Gophers meant that Justin Juenemann hasn’t played a football game in four years. Although the college student hasn’t been particularly influential on the football field, off it, he has been anything but complacent.
Justin decided that due to his lack of playing for the University of Minnesota, he wanted to use his status as a team member to do something admirable and help others. Juenemann then dedicated himself to helping children in need, volunteering that Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis and his altruism has not gone unnoticed by his teammates and coaches.
One day, the 23-year-old was arriving at the children’s hospital for another day of charity work when one of his favorite kids, Kyle Tanner, who was receiving treatment, presented a message in front of his whole team that he had been awarded a full scholarship for his final season. Minnesota coach P.J. Fleck handed Tanner a t-shirt gun which he fired at Justin. When he unraveled the t-shirt, it had the news written on the front, saying “Justin, congrats you have earned a scholarship.”
Fleck explained of the moment “Our goal was to create a moment of memory for Justin and his family forever because that’s what he earned”. He continued giving credit to the admirable student saying “I’ve never seen anybody serve and give more than that guy, who is not a star player, who hasn’t played, where his face is recognizable, he could easily just not do it and nobody would ever say anything, and all he does is continue to keep his oar in the water, (and) live that holistic life academically, athletically, socially and spiritually.”
Juenemann spoke about working in the hospital and explained why he does it everyday, adding “It is amazing to see the joy and the smile on their faces.”