Former Kentucky football player Tim Masthay has received the 2008-09 Darrell A. VanMeter Service Award from the university for his remarkable commitment to community service.
The award, which is in its 18th year at the University of Kentucky, honors the outstanding volunteer service achievements of Darrell A. VanMeter. The award was named in his honor to recognize the far-reaching and lasting impact of his “Good Samaritan” approach to life.
From the moment Masthay set foot on UK’s campus, he has epitomized what it means to be a Good Samaritan. Despite the strenuous and often long hours of fulfilling his role as a student-athlete, Masthay, a former punter and kicker on the UK football team, has found time to give back countless hours to the community.
For the past two summers, Masthay has provided transportation for the American Cancer of Society Hope Lodge residents to the hospital for treatments. He has volunteered hundreds of hours for various activities at the Hope Lodge, including bingo night, cookouts and participating in a night out at a Lexington Legends baseball game.
“Tim is always willing to help in any event or activity we coordinate,” said Sheldon Kozee, director of the Hope Lodge. “I admire him so much for being so giving of his time to help others. It is not often you find such an outstanding young individual who is aware of the importance of helping others in their time of need. He has been a blessing to not only us, but to dozens of cancer patients who are fighting the hardest battle of their lives. It is because of people like Tim that so many patients continue to fight and are among the millions of cancer survivors today.”
Masthay’s dedication at the Hope Lodge is just one example of his outstanding community service. Among his many other contributions, Masthay has participated in Habitat for Humanity, worked with the football team’s outreach projects that include speaking engagements at locals schools and churches, and he’s served abroad by participating in a service project at a school and orphanage in Ghana.
In addition to those countless hours of generosity, he has participated in numerous food drives, served with the Salvation Army and put in several service visits at local hospitals. For his dedication to service and leadership in the community, Masthay was named to the Frank Ham Society of Character by UK Athletics and the was one of just 11 football players in the nation to be chosen to the 2008 Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team.
Masthay has achieved all that while excelling on the football field and in the classroom. While leading the Wildcats a third straight bowl victory for the first time in school history, the Murray, Ky., native was awarded All-America honorable mention honors by CollegeFootballNews.com. He led the Southeastern Conference in punting and was named All-SEC by multiple selectors. He was also tabbed a first-team Academic All-American by the College Sports Information Directors Association and ESPN The Magazine.
So how does one find time to excel in the classroom, on the field and in the community?
“For me it all came down to having a great support staff around me,” Masthay said. “My teammates are great, the administration is great, the coaches are great, and then on an individual level it just came down to prioritizing.”
And nobody’s priorities are more in place in Masthay. He recently signed a free-agent contract with the NFL’s Indianapolis Colts, but that won’t stop him from his ultimate goal of joining the Peace Corps in Africa in the next five years.
“I know it sounds cheesy, but I want to serve my country and make a difference in the world,” he said.
Masthay graduated this past weekend with a degree in economics. He is the son of Mark and Jean Masthay, who now live in Lebanon, Ohio.
Kudos and congrats to a great athlete and greater human being.