BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The SEC sponsors Community Service Teams for all 21 league sponsored sports. The Community Service Team looks to highlight an athlete from each school who gives back to her community in superior service efforts. The 2013 SEC Softball Community Service Team follows:
Ryan Iamurri, Junior, Alabama
Iamurri has been a mainstay in the Tuscaloosa Community, helping with numerous projects though SAAC and on her own. Iamurri has helped with the Field of Angels, which is an organization that helps disabled or mentally handicapped kids play baseball. She has also worked at the University RISE Program, volunteered in a kindergarten class, and worked with Project Angel Tree and the annual Halloween Extravaganza. Iamurri also coaches little league.
Hope McLemore, Senior, Arkansas
McLemore’s community service efforts include assisting with Book Hogs, Sweat Hawgs, the Seven Hills Homeless Shelter and Residential Community, the Samaritan Soup Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity and the Full Circle Food Pantry. She is the co-founder and president of Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots Arkansas Chapter and interned at the Pat Walker Health Center. McLemore is a member of the Alpha Epsilon Delta National Health Pre-professional Honor Society and a member of the Arkansas Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, upon which she currently serves as vice president.
Baylee Stephens, Senior, Auburn
Stephens participated in the GeAUx Play initiative which collected new/used sporting goods for local special needs elementary schools. She also volunteered at the East Alabama Food Bank, Downtown Trick or Treat and Richland Elementary Family Fun Night. Stephens ran in the East Alabama Medical Center Foundation Think Pink Run to raise money for the EAMC Breast Health for Underserved Women Program. She distributed toys for Toys for Tots and collected canned goods for the Beat Bama Food Drive. Stephens is graduating a semester early with a degree in Nursing.
Kelsey Horton, Senior, Florida
Horton leads the UF softball team this year in community service hours, having clocked nearly 30. She was named to the 2012 SEC Community Service Team and also served as the Community Service Chair for the UF SAAC. Among her individual hours of service, Kelsey has volunteered locally at the Gainesville March of Dimes office, while also frequenting Gainesville’s Shands Hospital Pediatrics Department. On campus, Horton has taken part in a number of activities organized by UF’s Goodwill Gators program, including UF’s Climb for Cancer Sports Camp, Gator Tracks holiday gift wrapping party and UF’s Thanksgiving food drive. She volunteered at the St. Francis House and assisted with set up and execution of the HCHD Back to School Fair. As a team, Horton and the Gators have taken part in several different service events, including two Alachua County Special Olympics softball games, organizing Thanksgiving food baskets at Trinity United Methodist Church in Gainesville, while also helping with the Gator Diamond Club Annual Golf Tournament and much more. UF’s 2012-13 SAAC Vice President, Horton was named one of Florida’s SEC Brad Davis Community Service Award nominees, thus earning a $5K postgraduate scholarship.
Maya Branch, Senior, Georgia
Branch served as a mentor for Timothy Road Elementary School for the past two years, volunteering every week in the fall and at least twice a month during the spring. She spent every Saturday last fall volunteering at the East Friendship Baptist Church soup kitchen feeding the homeless and has participated in S.O.A.R (Special Olympics Annual Run at Hilsman Middle School for the past three years. Branch worked with the Boys and Girls Club of Athens, served as an Usher at Morton’s Theatre and participated in Reading Day at Gaines Elementary School. She volunteered at the Athens Animal Shelter, helped in the beatification of the Athens-area with the Barber Street Clean Up Project and spent time working with Kits for Kids in Haiti. Branch worked with outreach projects and learning services at different schools and academies with the Entomology department at Georgia from 2010-2013.
Kara Dill, Senior, Kentucky
During her time at Kentucky, Dill has participated in God’s Pantry Back Pack Program, helping pack backpacks full of food and delivering them to local elementary schools. Dill has also spent time ringing the bell for Salvation Army and served as a volunteer at the North Lexington YMCA Fall Festival. In her first couple years at UK, Dill served as a Big Blue U Volunteer, escorting incoming freshmen around campus to get them acquainted with the campus atmosphere. Dill has also volunteered at the Kentucky Horse Park and worked with UK Fusion, which is a campus wide community service day dedicated to helping those in the Lexington area. Dill graduated with her bachelor’s degree three semesters early and will graduate in May 2013 with her masters in exercise physiology. She is a three-year member of the SEC Academic Honor Roll and was inducted into the Frank G. Hamm Society of Character.
Allison Falcon, Junior, LSU
Falcon, a three-time SEC Academic Honor roll pick, is a representative on LSU’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and served on the Mikey’s award show committee to benefit Special Olympics Louisiana in April 2013. A CoSIDA Academic All-District Pick, Falcon has volunteered over 32 hours during 2012-13 which includes the Miracle League where she plays softball alongside mentally and physically disabled children. Other key projects include speaking to children during National Girls and Women Sports Day and visiting patients in the children’s hospital. Falcon and her teammates also have been a part of LSU’s Halloween BOOzar where the Tigers handed out candy and signed autographs to provide a safe night of fun for local youth. LSU softball adopted an underprivileged child for the holidays and provided gifts at a program while also serving a Thanksgiving style meal to the family during LSU’s annual “Thanksgiving with the Tigers” event.
Brittany Broome, Senior, Ole Miss
Broome participated in free community sports clinics by organizing hitting and fielding drills, working with parents to help teach their children basic softball skills, emphasizing base running and agility drills. She joined in multiple cancer awareness events by helping organize welcome gifts and survivor bags for the “Walk for the Women We Love 5K”, and participated in Reading with the Rebels by reading books to elementary school students. Broome delivered Thanksgiving meals to needy families and participated in First Baptist Buford’s delivery during Christmas break. She is the career stolen bases record holder at Ole Miss (74).
Jessica Cooley, Senior, Mississippi State
Cooley’s community service efforts include teaming up with the Tuscaloosa Area Volunteer Reception Center to clean up tornado debris in Tuscaloosa, Ala., coaching at a free youth softball clinic at the Starkville Sports Complex, volunteering at the MSU Women's Basketball game as part of National Girls and Women in Sports Day and teaming up with rival Ole Miss to donate toys to the Le Bonhuer Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Cooley donated Christmas Gifts and hosted Christmas party for underprivileged youths at East Oktibbeha County Elementary School. She helped build a home along with other student-athletes in conjunction with Starkville Habitat for Humanity and cut off over half her hair and donated it Locks of Love after a friend passed away due to breast cancer. Cooley participated in many Bully Blitz and Champion Breakfast campaigns at the local elementary schools, promoting reading and education each semester.
Chelsea Thomas, R-Senior, Missouri
Thomas helped in the planning of the Mizzou Moves pilot program, teaching elementary school students in the Columbia area about exercise and healthy eating. She teaches at Mizzou’s CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) clinics, showing softball and baseball skills to attendees and has spoken at the Tiger Village Retirement Home in her spare time. Thomas organized the Mizzou softball team’s annual “Christmas Adopt-A-Family” gifts.
Julie Sarratt, R-Sophomore, South Carolina
Sarratt participated in the Light the Night Walk, helped with Samaritan’s Purse, served dinner to families at the Ronald McDonald House around Christmas, participated in the National Girls and Women in Sports Day festivities, celebrating the 40th anniversary of Title IX and worked many softball clinics this year. She previously helped with the SEC Canned Food Drive, buying presents for the team’s adopted family for Christmas, and helped with the Kids Rock Disability Walk.
Melissa Brown, Senior, Tennessee
Brown participated in the most community service projects of anyone on the Tennessee softball team in 2012-13. She participated in a cooking demonstration for the community on Sept. 28. She handed out candy to local children during UT’s annual “VOLoween” trick-or-treat festivities. Brown and the team volunteered at the 2013 Knoxville Race for the Cure on Oct. 24, cheering on breast cancer survivors as they neared the finish line and also participated in the Susan G. Komen Cancer Walk on Oct. 27. She also volunteered at a special movie night for kids on Nov. 6. Brown and her teammates packed Thanksgiving food baskets at a local hospital for Angels of Heaven on Nov. 11. She participated in a holiday dinner for the less fortunate on Nov. 18. On Jan. 21, she took part in a local Martin Luther King Jr. parade. In early February, Brown and her teammates also went door-to-door handing distributing season tickets.
Allison Garrett, Junior, Texas A&M
Garrett worked at student-athlete run food drive, Aggies CAN, for several years, and volunteered at Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies as a sophomore. She has volunteered at several events through the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, including Hard Hats for Little Heads (bike helmet safety program) and Film on the Field (Community social activity by Aggie Athletics). Garrett sorted food at Brazos Valley Food Bank and walked in Brazos Valley “Walk to End Alzheimer’s”. She is a member of FCA.