Duhawk Basketball wins big at Night to Shine

Resting and relaxing. That is what you would think a men’s and women’s collegiate basketball team would be doing on the eve of a critical conference showdown. Not the Duhawks.

On February 9, the Loras College men’s and women’s basketball teams volunteered their time to serve at “Night to Shine” at Hope Church. Night to Shine is an evening to honor and celebrate individuals with special needs by giving them a “prom night experience” they will never forget. The Loras student-athletes, along with their coaches, volunteered their time at the event to ensure the honored guests, “their buddies,” had the experience of a lifetime. Night to Shine is a one-day event sponsored by the Tim Tebow Foundation. It is held at 537 locations nationwide, honoring 90,000 buddies thanks to the support of 175,000 volunteers.

When reflecting on the event, Chris Martin, head men’s basketball coach said, “Our guys were blessed by the opportunity to volunteer and serve at Night to Shine.  Hearing stories, seeing videos, and pictures of our guys having an amazing time serving an under-served population was powerful.  I can honestly say our guys received more that night than they gave.  It was special to see the love and compassion our Men’s and Women’s teams showed that night.”

Josh Ruggles (’19) shared similar thoughts, “Night to Shine was an incredible experience for me and my teammates,” he said. “Having the opportunity to take time out of the season and serve our buddies was a blessing, and it was a night that we won’t forget.”

Loras women’s basketball coach, Justin Heinzen, expressed similar sentiments, “The evening was amazing to witness!  Not many times can you pack tears, laughs, love, and memories into a three hour window of serving; and the guests did that for us.  In scope of what our purpose is individually, where one can leave an impact, this was one of those experiences. One that was certainly unforgettable.”

Kelly Barzowski (’19) felt the experience was a highlight of her time at Loras. “This experience is one I will forever cherish because of how rewarding it was to see these young men and woman having this night dedicated to them”.

In total, over 40 members of the Loras College men’s and women’s basketball team spent the night singing and dancing for a cause above and beyond wins and losses. Regardless of next day’s score, both men’s and women’s basketball teams captured the hearts of those on hand at the Night to Shine.

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