HAF Associate Director Tom Keith recognizes the impact of these gifts to the opportunities enjoyed by Hilltopper student-athletes, and appreciates their willingness to show their gratitude.
”Each year, we raise over $1 million to benefit these young men and women, so I know the student-athletes recognize what the HAF means to their livelihood,” said Keith. “Our donors also get a big kick out answering the phone and discovering one of our student-athletes on the other end. Especially given the fact that the only reason for the call is to say, “Thank you.”
With over 1,200 members, it is a challenge to successfully contact everyone who donates money, but for an opportunity to show their appreciation; it is a task the student-athletes welcome.
Lady Topper basketball star Crystal Kelly, the reigning Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year and a Freshman All-American, realizes the importance of the event.
”The donations mean a lot,” Kelly said. “Having the opportunity to play in front of such great fans is one of the reasons I came to Western. I wouldn’t pass up the chance to say thanks.”
Women’s Soccer coach Jason Neidell echoed those sentiments.
”This is an opportunity for our student-athletes to show their appreciation to the individuals who give them the opportunity to excel both in the classroom and on the playing field,” said Neidell. “It also helps our players recognize that without the HAF, none of this would be possible.”
Individuals who were not successfully contacted by phone will receive a hand-written thank you note from one of the student-athletes.
“We make sure everyone is contacted, whether it’s by phone or with a written gesture of appreciation,” Keith said.