Justin Juenemann has never played in a game with the University of Minnesota football team, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t made an impact.
The Gophers’ backup kicker has dedicated himself to helping kids in need as a volunteer at Masonic Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.
Juenemann was at a team meeting when one of his favorite kids at the hospital surprised him.
Kyle Tanner, a teenager at the hospital who has a rare blood marrow disease, spoke in front of the team on Wednesday and singled out Juenemann as his favorite player. Tanner said that Juenemann is the player he has seen at the hospital the most.
The head coach handed the young man from the hospital a T-shirt gun and urged him to fire it at Juenemann. Tanner blasted a white T-shirt right on target into the hands of Jeunemann, who unraveled it to see a message written on the front.
“Justin, congrats you have earned a scholarship,” it read.
His teammates promptly went wild, hoisting him onto their shoulders in celebration.
“I’ve never seen anybody serve and give more than that guy, who is not a star player, who hasn’t played, where his face is recognizable,” the coach said after the surprise. “He could easily just not do it and nobody would ever say anything, and all he does is continue to keep his oar in the water, (and) live that holistic life academically, athletically, socially and spiritually.”
“His life is not about him,” Fleck added. “His life is about serving and giving to other people.”
The scholarship for his final year will help Juenemann continue on that mission.
“I am pursing a human resources degree, and (I’m looking) to continue that and just to help people throughout the rest of my life,” he told media.