PERU – Peru State football student-athlete Dan Boshart (Wood River) has been named the Heart of America Athletic Conference (Heart) recipient of the Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character award.
Boshart noted he is very honored to be named as the Heart’s Walker Award winner. Boshart said, “I have been blessed with having such an outstanding support system throughout my collegiate career with my family, coaches, teammates, professors, and friends.” In terms of his activities, Boshart added, “It is very important to me to give back to the community and to serve others, especially when you are in a leadership role.”
He is the first Walker winner from Peru State since 2015 when former Bobcat golfer Marisa Pribnow (Lincoln)won the conference award.
The NAIA Dr. LeRoy Walker Champions of Character Award for student-athletes is one of the most prestigious awards in the NAIA and was created in association with National Sports Foundation, a group of sports organizations that promote and recognize sportsmanship. Dr. Walker was a former president of the NAIA and president emeritus of the U.S. Olympic Committee. The award honors outstanding student-athletes for their academics, athletics, leadership, and dedication to living the core values of Champions of Character.
In order to be nominated, a student-athlete must be at least a junior in academic status with a 3.0 grade point average or higher; be involved on campus and community leadership; embrace the five core values of the NAIA Champions of Character, and have athletic achievements. Boshart had to submit a resume and an essay on how he demonstrated one of the core values of the Champions of Character. Also, three letters of recommendation were required as part of the nomination process.
Boshart, a junior social science teaching and coaching major, has a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Some of his academic achievements include being on the Dean’s List for six semesters, Board of Trustees Scholar, and being named as a Daktronics-NAIA Scholar-Athlete this past fall.
Some of Boshart’s campus activities include being a three-year member of the football team, a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC), and a District History Day student assistant. This past spring, Boshart was elected as the president of SAAC. This past year, Boshart served as the social event coordinator for SAAC.
His head football coach Steve Schneider wrote this of Boshart in his recommendation letter, “I strongly support Dan Boshart’s nomination for the LeRoy Walker Award…His positive attitude, sense of humor and willingness to help others are valuable personal assets. Dan seems to be at ease with himself and interacts well in group settings. He enjoys people and is very cooperative.”
He is a two-year letter winner on the football team and earned the News Channel Nebraska Player of the Game last fall. For that same game, Boshart was named the Heart of America Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week. Boshart has also served as a Bobcat Elite Leader for the football team.
Other campus and community service activities in which Boshart has been involved include participating in the Peru City-Wide Clean-up, working the College’s Kids Against Hunger Drive, helping with Feeding 44, assisting with the Football Booster Club’s Powerlifting meet, and participating in the Sexual Assault Awareness Month activities. He also helped with the Brownville Arboretum Clean-up, was an Auburn High School Post-Prom volunteer, taught Sunday School classes, and participated in many other community and campus community service activities.
His school superintendent, Dr. James R. Haley, of the Wood River Rural School District, noted, “One of the signs of Dan’s character and maturity is his selfless approach to everyday life. Volunteering and helping others just comes natural to Dan, not something that he looks to do once a year. He has, and continues, to volunteer here at our school, in our community, and in his local church.”
His pastor Matt Troyer-Miller of the Wood River Mennonite Church added, “Dan is kind, big-hearted, and a man of sincere faith. He continues to be an active member in our church whenever he returns home…Dan has a servant’s heart. He has always worked hard, and I never heard him complain.”
Boshart’s nomination has been forwarded by the conference to the NAIA national office for judging with the others conference nominees. The winner will be announced in September as part of the NAIA National Awards Day.