Russell Athletic has announced that Buena Vista (Colo.) High School has been selected as the winner of its third annual "Fight Like Dylan Award," which honors the memory of Dylan Rebeor, a terminally-ill football player whose final wish was for new uniforms for his teammates. In recognition of Dylan's character, courage and consideration of others, Russell will donate $50,000 worth of team uniforms and equipment to Buena Vista High School for demonstrating determination through adversity.
The town of Buena Vista suffered an awful tragedy last September, when a massive rock slide took the lives of five people on a family hike, including assistant football coach Dwayne Johnson and his wife, track and field coach Dawna Johnson. Three other family members also passed away, but with his strength and courage, Dwayne managed to save the lone survivor, the couple's 13-year-old daughter Gracie.
Despite being overcome with emotion the rest of the season, the football team made an incredible run, finishing with an 11-1 record before falling in the CHSAA 1A Football Championship state semifinals.
"We had an extremely difficult decision this year with more than 110 quality entries for this year's Fight Like Dylan Award," said Gary Barfield, Sr. Vice President of Russell Athletic. "Buena Vista's story is truly inspiring, especially in the way that the team and community rallied around this tragedy and showed how athletics can be a powerful motivator in the most troubling of times. We are honored to celebrate Dylan's life and the lives of Dwayne and Dawna Johnson and their loved ones with this grant to Buena Vista High School."
Dylan Rebeor, a native of Columbia, Tenn., was only 16 when he passed away on Dec. 3, 2010, following an eight-month battle against cancer. Rebeor was a wide receiver on Columbia Central High School's football team, but he died just hours before his team won their first state championship in 58 years. Throughout his ordeal, Dylan's commitment and dedication to his team never wavered. His final wish for new team uniforms was made through the Make A Wish Foundation. The Fight Like Dylan Award was established by Russell Athletic in collaboration with Dylan's family and coaches to celebrate Dylan's life and selflessness.
To become eligible for the Fight Like Dylan Award, teams submitted their stories on Russell Athletic's Facebook page explaining how their teams overcame challenges or triumphed in the face of adversity while embodying Dylan's spirit and courage in his battle against cancer. Former pro football head coach and current NBC Sports football analyst Tony Dungy and pro football players Mark Ingram, Pierre Garcon and Colt McCoy served on the award selection committee, along with Dylan's mother and former Columbia Central High School head coach, Vance Belew.
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