Turner Gill, A Class Act

As many of you know, I am an avid Nebraska football fan. One of my favorite players is Turner Gill. Turner led the Cornhuskers to a 28-2 record as a starter and is one of the most beloved Husker players of all time. He was an incredible leader and athlete in college. Today, he represents everything that is good—he is an incredible role model, leader and coach; his integrity, character and values are beyond reproach; he is simply a very classy individual.

Turner is now in his first season as the Head Coach of the Liberty Flames in Lynchburg, Virginia. Since Lynchburg is only a few hours from Northern Virginia several Nebraska fans in the area decided to attend a Liberty football game to show our support for Turner Gill. After comparing the Liberty and Nebraska football schedules we decided to attend the Liberty-Lehigh football game on September 22nd.

We bought 20 tickets so that we would be able to have an assigned tailgate spot. Unfortunately, only 11 Husker fans committed to attend. Not wanting to waste any tickets we reached out to the Opportunity House and invited them to bring some of their young men to tailgate and attend the football game with us.  We enjoyed sharing our experience with those young men and bought Nebraska T-shirts to give them.

Liberty University learned what we were doing and on game day came to our tailgate to take video and photos of us. Even Coach Turner’s wife, Gayle, came to our tailgate to thank us for our support. And Turner Gill met us after the game, talked with us, and signed autographs.

As a huge fan of Turner Gill, this is one of my fondest memories. However, the real reward was the reaction of the young men. Many of them told me after the game that it was the best day of their life. In fact, Martin Cox, the Casework Supervisor at the Opportunity House, sent me the following note:

Mr. Bernhardt,

Just wanted to thank you and your group of Nebraskans for showing our young men a great time. During the game, I received a few messages from Mr. Allen expressing how well they were being treated and about how well the guys were enjoying themselves. Also, I was present at the facility when they returned and their faces expressed what a great time they had even before they opened their mouths. When they did begin to tell me about their experience there was no doubt each of them was truly grateful.

You and your group have truly given these young men an experience they will not soon forget, and shown them that nice things can happen when you make good decisions.

Thank You Again,

I didn’t think many things could top meeting someone like Turner Gill but making an impact on these young men while meeting a class act like Turner Gill will make September 22nd stand out as one of the best days of my life.

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