Oct. 23, 2013
Most Wednesdays, Carey Spear and several Vanderbilt teammates head over to Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Giving of their time, the Commodores interact with the young patients. They're greeted by big smiles as they play the piano, toss up a basketball or engage in a friendly checkers game.
But unbeknownst to Spear, there was more to this hospital visit on Wednesday.
Allstate's Elaine Payne surprised Spear when he was given the Allstate AFCA Good Works Team award. Last month, the senior was one of just 11 players in the Football Bowl Championship division - and the only SEC representative - to be named to the team.
Vanderbilt Head Coach James Franklin, who was in on the surprise with Allstate, was joined by Spear's teammates Andrew East, Johnny McCrary, Jahmel McIntosh, Ryan Brockway, Kyle Woestmann and Walker May. The kids at the hospital showed their appreciation with a banner that read, "Congrats Carey."
"I had no idea this was happening," Spear said. "(Just) trying to help out, serve these kids and give back to this community. That's what this is about. I guess this award symbolizes that. But it's not about me. It's about this program and what it represents. We have countless guys on this team who are more than willing. They get to give back to the community. They don't have to give back to the community. You have guys who are passionate to serve these kids and serving the community.
"Honestly, to be in our position to have the blessings we have, it is important to use that platform to give back. Our whole team recognizes that."
For the last two years, Spear and several Vanderbilt teammates have actively contributed to community outreach projects guided by CrossPoint Church, including mentoring women struggling with addiction and adopt-a-block cleanup efforts in Nashville. He has assisted and mentored clients of Nashville's Safe Harbor, a recovery project aiming to keep adult men free of drugs and alcohol. He also has participated in mission trips to Mexico, Haiti and Peru as a Vanderbilt student.
Spear also is a high-achieving student, on schedule to graduate in May 14 with a degree in Human and Organizational Development. He is also a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll recipient.
On the football field, the Mayfield Village, Ohio native is a three-year captain. He owns three school records, including setting a single-season mark with 20 field goals in 2012.