Locals share Super Bowl volunteer experience
The Philadelphia Eagles walked off the field of U.S. Bank Stadium as Super Bowl champions on Sunday, Feb. 4. Faribault County also produced its share of winners from the professional football extravaganza.
Wendy Cole, Judy Orvedal, and David Murray all went to Minneapolis in the days leading up to the big game to pitch in and volunteer. The trio of Faribault County residents were a part of Crew 52, a volunteer group organized by former Minnesota Viking Chad Greenway.
The objective for Crew 52 members, like Cole, Orvedal, and Murray, was to promote brand awareness and encourage tourism within the Twin Cities. In total, approximately 10,000 Crew 52 volunteers took part in the festivities leading up to Super Bowl kickoff.
Cole and Orvedal traveled to Minneapolis as a pair for three separate shifts the week before the Super Bowl. Their first shift was on Saturday, Jan. 27, as part of the Super Bowl Live festival.
On Monday, Jan. 29, the football enthusiasts headed back for their second tour of duty as they helped guests maneuver the Bold North Zip Line, presented by XOOX and Treasure Island. This attraction happens to be the first ever zip line to cross the Mississippi River.
On Friday, Feb. 2, the duo returned for their third shift where they helped the many visitors at Nicollet Mall. While there, Cole even managed to get some air time on KSTP Eyewitness News with two other volunteers. Cole says she had a blast being on TV and meeting KSTP reporter Matt Belanger.
“We were by the Verizon stage, and folks were taking pictures and handing out maps. I enjoyed the experience of just getting to see what was going on,” Cole says.
Meanwhile, David Murray also participated in three shifts during the week’s festivities as part of Crew 52. The Blue Earth farmer volunteered on Saturday and Sunday a week before the game.
Murray was able to utilize his Super Bowl trip to catch up on some quality time with the family. He met up with his daughter Rachel and his son-in-law Joey, who both made the trip from Stewartville. Murray’s son Daniel also traveled to the Super Bowl Live event, making the journey from Clarion, Iowa.
Interestingly enough, Murray also had the opportunity to volunteer at the 2014 Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Target Field. As Murray explains, the experience of being at major sporting events is a thrill like no other.
“I told my children it would be a fantastic experience and it would be many years before we’d see something like this again,” says Murray.
The Minnesota sports enthusiast spent part of his Saturday shift greeting visitors of the Birkie Bridge near Nicollet Mall. While on duty, Murray recalls how Mother Nature wreaked havoc on the bridge.
“There was a team of about 10 guys with picks and ice scrapers trying to break up the ice. Luckily, that wasn’t part of my job,” Murray chuckles.
Wells area farmer Darin Johnson also traveled to Minneapolis to compete in the first ever Farm Bowl, sponsored by Land O’ Lakes, on Feb. 1.
In its first year of existence, the Farm Bowl took place at 3M Arena at Mariucci, the home of the Minnesota Gophers men’s hockey team. Johnson admits he had no idea what to expect when he got there.
“The first time we had a chance to run through the course was during the actual event,” Johnson says. “But I had a great time because the Farm Bowl really helped shed light on what we do. Over the years, farming has been a very family oriented business which is still relevant today.”
The Farm Bowl consisted of a five-event agriculturally specialized obstacle course. Johnson joined forces with Minnesota Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph as the duo competed against five other teams of farmers and professional athletes in the obstacle course.
Although Johnson and Rudolph did not win the competition, Johnson says he had a great time interacting with a top performer from his favorite football team.
“Working with Kyle was awesome, he even surprised me with how well he handled the drone drop. He did it better than me,” Johnson laughs.
As for the game itself, Blue Earth Elementary and Middle School principal Melissa McGuire accompanied her son Sullivan to U.S. Bank for the once in a lifetime experience as part of the Hyundai “Hope on Wheels” initiative.
This happened to be the second consecutive year in which Hyundai “Hope on Wheels” hosted pediatric cancer survivors at the Super Bowl. 12-year old “Sully” recorded live video from the Super Bowl and submitted his recordings for use on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram feeds of Hyundai Hope on Wheels.
Through the use of social media, Sully’s inspirational battle with pediatric cancer reached millions of football fans around the world. McGuire expressed her gratitude for being a part of such a worthwhile endeavor.
“We’re just excited to be able to have the opportunity to go and promote awareness of pediatric cancer with Hyundai Hope on Wheels,” says McGuire.
Hyundai will donate $100,000 to the University of Minneapolis Children’s Hospital and the Mayo Clinic Children’s Hospital to support pediatric oncology programs at each center.