At the Fiesta Bowl Youth Football Clinic last October, it was raining buckets. The event hosted more than 100 kids from the Salvation Army Kroc Center, Boys & Girls Clubs, Luke Air Force Base and Fighter Country Partnership. The young football players were immensely concerned.
“Kids were coming up to me asking me ‘are we going to get cancelled?’ They wanted to play and I would reassure them to just ‘relax and hang in there,’” Fiesta Bowl volunteer Anthony Jefferson said. “I enjoyed the fact that they were coming to me, asking those questions. We always try to make the kids happy so when we continued the event that meant a lot to me.”
After adjusting to Mother Nature and finalizing some indoor space, the clinic resumed with the children learning the game with smiles on their faces.
The Fiesta Bowl Youth Football Clinic was one of the many successful events Jefferson has assisted with in the past decade.
Given his dedication and time given to the Fiesta Bowl, Jefferson received the Glenn Hawkins Volunteer Award given to the Fiesta Bowl’s volunteer of the year. The Glenn Hawkins Volunteer Award is given to the individual who embodies total dedication to the organization, unbridled enthusiasm and willingness to create an unmatched experience at all Fiesta Bowl events.
The 10-year volunteer has assisted in guest services and pregame party operations for the Fiesta Bowl and Cheez-It Bowl. In addition, Jefferson has volunteered at the Fiesta Bowl Parade, Youth Football Clinic, Aerospace Challenge, Fiesta Bowl Hole-In-One, and the Par 3 Challenge.
“I personally enjoy giving back. The Fiesta Bowl does a lot for the community, not just one thing for one group but different things for different demographics,” Jefferson said. “Everybody in leadership seems to be involved. I enjoy volunteering for the personal joy of giving back.”
Jefferson moved to Mesa in 1986. An avid UCLA Bruins fan, it was Jefferson’s passion for football that initially got him involved with the Fiesta Bowl back in 2009.
“The reason I got involved was football. I love football. I heard the things the Fiesta Bowl does for the community and I’m a community person so I wanted to do a lot of giving back,” Jefferson said.
Despite football being the lead draw in Jefferson’s Fiesta Bowl involvement, it isn’t the marquee college football games that are his favorite to volunteer.
“My favorite events are the youth football events and the Aerospace Challenge,” Jefferson said. “Anything where children are involved and having fun brings joy for me. For the Aerospace event, I’m an engineer so I’m into computers and aerospace is fascinating to me.”
Jefferson brings a contagious smile and energy unlike any other. You will see Anthony at just about every single Fiesta Bowl related volunteer event, lending a hand wherever needed.
“Joining the Fiesta Bowl came at a time where it was a blessing from God for me. They were like a family to me when I was down. That meant so much to me I got an award. It was perfect timing,” Jefferson said.
“It’s a great feeling being recognized for all that you have been doing and all the effort you have put in over the years,” Jefferson said. “For the Fiesta Bowl Family to recognize what I do and appreciate me is amazing.”
Earlier this month, Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona joined the organization as presenting partner for the Fiesta Bowl’s extensive volunteer program.