AMARILLO, TX – For the third straight year, the Amarillo Bulls have captured the North American Hockey League’s Community Service Award.
Bulls forward Ryan Cole was selected as this year’s winner, joining Karl Beckman and Brooks Behling as previous winners. Cole’s Community Humanitarian project during the 2012-13 Season was for Habitat for Humanity (H for H). H for H is an organization that has strong roots in local communities and builds houses for those who are less fortunate and would not be able to afford it. Cole felt it was important to help lead the charge in regards to community outreach within the city of Amarillo.
“It’s a really great honor, but the award is secondary to seeing these families move in and the house being built,” Cole said. “That is the real reward to me. The big reason why I won this is for my organization because it shows that we are committed to this community, and we will do whatever it takes to leave this community better than we first got here.”
Cole felt it was important to help lead the charge in regards to community outreach within the city of Amarillo. When he arrived at the beginning of the season he put together Bulls4Habitat, a charity that would raise money for Habitat for Humanity. His goal at the beginning of the year was to raise at least $5,000 for the organization and donate his time to help build houses in the community.
As the year went on he organized and ran fundraising events at local Chili's, Youth Fun Houses, the Amarillo Discovery Center and at the rink during games to reach his goal. Cole had a booth set up at home games offering up chances to donate to the Bulls4Humanity project as well as participate in auctions and raffles with proceeds going to B4H. These items were donated to the Amarillo Bulls specifically for the Habitat For Humanity project by local businesses.
Cole also managed to get an Autographed and personalized Rodney Atkins (Country Musician) Amarillo Bulls Jersey. The Jersey was raffled off with all proceeds donated directly to B4H. At the end of the season, over $7,000 and counting has been raised by Cole’s efforts for the Amarillo Chapter of Habitat For Humanity. The most impressive and exciting part of the whole campaign is that the Amarillo Habitat For Humanity chapter has decided to dedicate their next house built to Cole and his organization, Bulls4Habitat. Construction on the Bulls4Habitat house began on April 20th with a groundbreaking ceremony that included a special presentation made by Ryan Cole and his teammates.
Cole said he first thought about getting involved with a community project this past summer, and felt strongly about the work that Habitat for Humanity did.
“As the summer progressed my mom mentioned Habitat For Humanity that is such a great organization with unbelievable people,” said Cole. “After some thought I decided that is the organization that I wanted to help by first of all raising money, and secondly donating some of my time.”
Amarillo Bulls Head Coach Dennis Williams said Cole has gone above and beyond this year working with Habitat For Humanity.
“To fundraise over $7,000 just speaks volumes about his character and who he is,” said Williams. “The work that he is doing for Habitat For Humanity just goes to show that he will be successful not only in college but in life after. His determination to help other people, balancing hockey and a job in town, as well as setting up community events for his team mates to participate in is amazing. What a phenomenal accolade he could get. It’s not about him getting the award, but about the fact he truly loves what he does.”
Consolidated Sports Holding International President Gary Gelinas said that is terrific to have a Bulls’ player win this award for a third straight year.
“The award speaks about the type of person Ryan is and his selflessness in giving back to his community,” said Gelinas. “This also speaks to the type of program we want to build in Amarillo where the goal is to develop human beings and that starts with bringing in quality people such as Ryan. We are very pleased he chose Amarillo as his junior hockey program.”
The house that Habitat For Humanity is building is progressing well. Ryan Cole said they should be done soon.
“We just put up the trusses which is the foundation of the roof,” Cole reported. “The walls are up and the exterior of the house is nearly finished. It’s pretty impressive to see the house they have gotten. I know Collin Delia, Geoff Fortman, and Phil Heinle have joined me to help out. We learned a lot and had a really good time. It should be another month and a half and the house will be completed.”