Dec 31, 2014

Minnesota’s Mortell Uses Bowl Gift To Give Back

Minnesota punter Peter Mortell didn’t get a new Xbox One or a PlayStation 4 with his bowl gift card, instead he decided to buy gifts for the kids of the St. Joseph’s Home for Children in Minneapolis.

“When I got the gift card from Best Buy I really sat back and though ‘do I really need it and could it be better put to use somewhere else?’” Mortell said.  “The lasting memories that I got when I went to St. Josephs and I saw them get the gifts and the smiles that were on their faces is something that nobody will ever be able to take from me.”

Mortell, the 2014 Big Ten Punter of the Year, didn’t know of St. Joseph’s until about a week ago.

“I picked St. Josephs through one of our athletic directors and it’s something that I’m really glad was brought to my attention and I want to work with them in the future for sure,” Mortell said.

Mortell didn’t get the kids a big new TV for the home; he decided to get many smaller “communal” gifts that would impact more than just one child.

“The goal was for it not to go toward just one kid but to thousands of kids and generations to come,” Mortell said.

Mortell and his Minnesota Gophers (8-4, 5-3 Big Ten) face off against Missouri (10-3, 7-1 SEC) in the first edition of the newly named Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl in the reconstructed Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium on Jan. 1.

“I didn’t really expect this to get as much publicity as it has,” Mortell said. “We have such a phenomenal community outreach program at our school and we’re given so many opportunities to give back to the community. This is just one of those opportunities and I’m glad I was able to give back.”

He even said that some of his friends from around the Big Ten reached out to him after they heard of what he did.

“I’m friends with a lot of the punters in the Big Ten and I’ve had a couple people say something but a lot of my teammates came up to me and told me how cool they thought it was,” Mortell said. “I’m still getting texts and tweets from people in Minneapolis.”

Mortell hopes that his story can inspire others around the country.

“I think it’s cool to be apart of something outside of football that is positive publicity,” Mortell said. “I hope that this can inspire more people in the future to maybe donate a portion of their bowl gifts back to the community.”

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