(ASU) - The focus of practice and meetings turned to service Friday morning when members of the Arkansas State football team and coaching staff visited the University of South Alabama Children's and Women's Hospital as part of the lead-up to Sunday's GoDaddy Bowl.
Players, coaches and team mascots from A-State and Toledo spent time with the children, took pictures, signed autographs and provided memorabilia and gifts from the bowl and their respective teams.
"Anytime you can help add some enjoyment and smiles to people that are going through tough times, it makes you feel like you are a part of what is going on," A-State head coach Blake Anderson said. "There are things in life that are bigger than you and it makes you reflect on how thankful we should be for all that we have and what we get to do."
The community service project associated with the GoDaddy Bowl was a unique experience for the players and coaches alike. Anderson was accompanied by offensive lineman Jhamahl Bell, linebacker Ben Gallahger, running backs Terrance Hollingsworth and Logan Moragne, defensive backs Chris Humes and TeDarius Turner, quarterback James Tabary, defensive lineman Austin Moreton and wide receiver Sterling Stowers as the group made several stops to individual rooms to visit with patients.
"This has been a great experience for me personally," Gallagher said. "It really makes you think about all that we have and we get to do and if we can just take part of our day to brighten the day of someone else it really make you feel humble inside."
The University of South Alabama Children's & Women's Hospital is among a handful of freestanding hospitals in the United States dedicated specifically to the health care needs of children and women. Its health care professionals are uniquely qualified and equipped to provide a wide range of therapeutic and surgical services for children and women, be it life-threatening illness, traumatic injury, premature birth or high-risk obstetrical and gynecological needs.
"It is really humbling just to be able to come out here and brighten up these kids day during the holiday season," added Humes. "It also provides a little extra motivation for us because you meet kids that want to play football and we are doing something we love so we get motivated to go out and play for them."
The Red Wolves will play Mid-American Conference member Toledo in the GoDaddy Bowl, set for an 8 p.m. kickoff on Jan. 4. Bowl tickets are only $45 per ticket when purchased through the A-State Ticket Office. GoDaddy Bowl tickets are only $45 per ticket when purchased through the A-State Ticket Office. The A-State Ticket Office can be contacted by telephone at 870-972-2781, and tickets can be purchased online at tickets.astate.edu.