Former Player and Radio Network to Establish Scholarship Fundby Neal Turnage
April 27, 2007
Since the campus shootings of April 16, sports entities from around the globe have displayed their support for the Virginia Tech community in a number of ways, both symbolic and monetary. One of the most ambitious of tributes, however, comes from one of the school’s own former athletes.
Current Cleveland Brown and former Hokie defensive back, Justin Hamilton, has teamed up with the Sports Addict Radio Network to raise money for the creation of 32 scholarships in memory of the victims of that day’s events. Hamilton himself has already created the Justin Hamilton Foundation and donated $50,000 to start the fund off.
“Justin was pretty shaken up over (the shootings),” said John Heffernan, a representative for Hamilton. “He told me, ‘I don’t feel right asking anybody else to donate unless I do my part.’”
According to Aaron Marks of the Sports Addict Radio Network, the endeavor will attempt to raise a minimum of $100,000 from each NFL franchise.
“It only made sense,” said Marks. “There are 32 teams and there were 32 victims...We’re hoping that the Hokies on each team help lead the charge.”
Both Marks and Heffernan confirmed interest in the efforts from former Hokies James Anderson and DeAngelo Hall, among others. NFL rosters show Virginia Tech players on over 20 teams.
The deadline for hitting the ambitious goal of $3.2 million is Sept. 1, but Marks is confident that it can be reached. In addition to the NFL, other sports organizations such as the NBA and MLB are urged to contribute. The attempt will be called “The Sports Community Challenge.”
Starting Monday, the Sports Addict Radio Network will begin airing promos on its 22 stations to urge the public to participate in the challenge as well. Interested parties can donate at www.justinhamiltonfoundation.org. At the end of the fundraising period, the money will be donated to the Virginia Tech Foundation.
Though the exact nature of the scholarships has not yet been determined, Heffernan said that they will not be sports-related, but will be general education oriented instead.
“I’d like to see most of (the scholarships) go to incoming freshman,” said Marks, hoping that the endowments will help draw prospective students to Virginia Tech. He forsees a situation where half the awards could go to freshmen, while the rest are distributed among members of the other classes.