Russell Athletic and All Pro Dad, a national charity dedicated to strengthening the relationship between fathers and their children, announced the 2014 winners of the “Always There Award,” an honor given to the unsung heroes who support high school athletic programs.
The recipients are Susan Gallian (Waynesboro, Tenn.); Ronnie Herrington (Laurel, Miss.); Tricia Matthews (Willis, Tex.) and Foster St. Andre (Oakdale, La.).
The “Always There Award” was created by Russell Athletic and All Pro Dad in 2013 to reward individuals who have a positive impact on the high school athletic program in their community. After last year’s outstanding response for entries, the 2014 campaign doubled the number of winners (from two to four), while expanding the pool of eligible applicants to 11 different states in the Southeastern US, including Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina.
All four winners will receive a Russell Athletic prize pack and a $1,000 athletic equipment grant for their respective community’s local high school. The recipients will be honored at a breakfast hosted by All Pro Dad national spokesman, former NFL Head Coach and two-time Super Bowl Champion, Tony Dungy on May 16 in Tampa, Fla.
“We are thrilled to team up with All Pro Dad for the second annual ‘Always There Award,’ recognizing four winners who go to such extraordinary lengths to support high school athletics,” said Robby Davis, Senior Vice President General Manager, Russell Athletic. “Building a strong athletic program requires so much more than just players and coaches, and this award identifies hard working volunteers that go above and beyond for student athletes.”
About The Winners
Susan Gallian is a devoted community member to Wayne County High School athletic programs in Waynesboro, Tenn., a former All-State Lady Cat who led the basketball team to its first state tournament appearance in 1974. She is one of the founding members of the WCHS Quarterback Club, which helped raise funds to build a much-needed field house for the football team. Outside of that, she volunteers many hours to operate the concession stand without pay, keeps stats at all games to help write weekly articles for the local newspaper and is instrumental in setting up team pre-game meals and after-game drinks and snacks. Susan is a dedicated athletic supporter who is always there to give an encouraging word to the person who needs it most.
Ronnie Herrington has always gone above and beyond to help out the players and coaching staff for the West Jones High School athletic department in Laurel, Miss. Each week during football season, he personally assumes the financial burden of providing food for the entire football team on Wednesday and Thursday, and delivered equipment to the team using his personal vehicle and trailer on Friday nights. Ronnie and his family have also established a scholarship fund, giving up to five deserving students an award to help pay for their first semester of college, helping out several hard working families in the community. Ronnie recognizes the rich heritage and history of West Jones High School, and wants to do whatever is necessary to continue a tradition of success.
Tricia Matthews is the glue that holds athletic programs together in Willis, Tex. Working as an art teacher in the high school, Tricia devotes the rest of her day to supporting Willis High School athletes and coaches. She drives kids to practice, provides meals to student athletes and even puts clothes on their back if they are in need. During the summer, Tricia will drive kids to summer strength and conditioning workouts and then take them to her house to make sure they get fed. Tricia has served as a true inspiration in the community, sending positive notes to coaches and players, and her presence is crucial in the Willis High School community.
Foster St. Andre, a graduate of Oakdale High School in Oakdale, La., has made it his personal goal to help the small town community's youth through athletics. Without a strong core of community volunteers, Foster coaches as many as four different teams a year for football, five for basketball, and two for softball. Foster embodies “The Warrior Way”, a key motto at Oakdale High School which means to do the right thing. For many students who don’t have a positive male role model in their lives, Foster is always there for countless youth through athletics, from the age of four all the way through graduation.
“We are honored to recognize these four winners, who use high school athletics to spark leadership and make a positive impact in their communities,” said Coach Dungy. “Role models like Susan, Ronnie, Tricia and Foster are truly always there for their teams. We hope that these athletic equipment grants lead to more opportunities for their student athletes to succeed, both on the field and in the classroom.”
From March 17 until April 28, community members from eligible states submitted names to www.allprodad.com/alwaysthere to explain in 1,000 words or less why their nominee deserved to win the “Always There Award.”