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Baseball's Burke Wins Boston College Leadership Award

Sophomore Jeff Burke

Sophomore Jeff Burke

April 7, 2014

Written by senior Kristen Scott

Sophomore Jeff Burke, right-handed pitcher for the Boston College baseball team, will be honored at this year's Leadership Award Ceremony on April 28 for winning the Timothy M. Padulsky Award. The award goes to the sophomore who mentored and encouraged other students to develop effective skills in inclusive leadership and teamwork.

"It's a really nice honor, especially seeing everyone who nominated me. It's really something I didn't expect at all," Burke said. "Hopefully it will get more people interested in volunteering. Maybe people will hear about some of the stuff I've participated in like the New Orleans trip because of this award. It's a good way for other people to learn about it by default and may spark their interest,"

In addition to participating in the HEAR (Help Educate through Athletic Responsibility) program, in which student-athletes visit elementary schools to mentor kids, Burke has traveled to New Orleans with the Devlin S-AFE service trip the past two years. Through the St. Bernard project, he worked with other student-athletes to rebuild homes that have been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Burke is also the SAAC (Student-Athlete Advisory Committee) representative for the baseball team.

Rebuilding a home in New Orleans

Athletics intern Evan Librizzi, one of the people who nominated Burke for the Padulsky Award, was a chaperone on both Devlin S-AFE service trips with Burke.

"Jeff is mature beyond his years. Whenever he's at a service site, whether it was in New Orleans or when he visits the special needs class, he's always so present and committed," Librizzi said. "He's passionate about everything he's working on."

Head baseball coach Mike Gambino praised Burke's constant effort to aim for greatness and work to benefit others.

"When you think of the 'Ever to Excel' motto that we have here at BC, [Burke] is someone who exemplifies that better than anyone I've ever coached here," said Gambino. "From his GPA to his community service to how hard he works on the baseball field, he strives to excel in everything he does. He is an unbelievable kid with high character; he is an extremely hard worker."

Burke practices the same dedication he has to his service in the community in his contributions to the baseball team.

"I try to make sure I'm as positive as I can be, picking up all my teammates, trying to make sure I'm doing all I can to put our team in a nice position to win. It's really a team effort, so we're constantly helping each other," Burke said.

To Burke, winning the Padulsky award is just a unexpected result of his service. The real reward is interacting with people and learning their stories.

"All of it is really humbling," Burke said. "A lot of the time, people go into volunteer work with the mindset that they're going to help others, but sharing experiences with other people and getting to know them really opens your eyes and teaches you a lot of things.

"It's given me a lot of perspective because I've been so blessed with a lot of things, including my ability to play here at BC," Burke continued. "Even when I feel like I'm having a tough time or terrible luck, I realize that I'm so lucky and blessed with my opportunities. The experiences I've had have really taught me to take advantage of all the opportunities I'm given."

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