So often we hear stories of fans and communities going to extraordinary measures in support of their team.
In the case of this year’s Disney Sports Spirit Award recipient, we’re proud to recognize the Univ. of Alabama, who came together to support its community – the same people who have supported them religiously year after year – following the EF-4 tornado that ravaged much of western Alabama.
The team’s student-athletes and staff immediately leaped into action following the April 27 disaster. The storm packed 195-mph winds and demolished 7,000 homes, 600 businesses and took 50 lives, including the life of Alabama football player Carson Tinker’s girlfriend, Ashley Harrison.
In order to help the region take its first steps towards recovery, Courtney Upshaw raised nearly $20,000 in relief funds in his hometown of Eufaula, Ala., while Preston Dial loaded up an 18-wheeler and drove in supplies from Mobile, Ala. Barrett Jones lugged a chain saw around Tuscaloosa to remove debris from homes and yards. And the Univ. of Alabama Athletic Department contributed $1 million to the UA Acts of Kindness Fund, which provides relief to faculty, staff, and students of The University of Alabama who are experiencing hardship.
Each year, Disney Sports strives to recognize the most inspirational figure or team in college football, and in this year’s recipient we undoubtedly found a story of selflessness, compassion and recovery.
Tinker will formally accept the award on behalf of his teammates and school during The Home Depot College Football Awards at Walt Disney World Resort on Dec. 8. The 21st annual awards show is scheduled for 7-9 p.m. ET and will be televised live on ESPN.