Tuesday evening during his annual Holiday Party at the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital, Minnesota Vikings center John Sullivan will be named the 2013 Vikings Community Man of the year.
Since joining the Vikings organization in 2008, John Sullivan has developed a relationship with Amplatz. He started attending parties at the hospital that were hosted by former Viking Steve Hutchinson. When Hutchinson left the team, Sullivan adopted the tradition, hosting parties for Halloween, Thanksgiving, and the Holidays. These parties feature catered meals, entertainment, and player visits, giving Amplatz patients and their families a distraction from the illness and treatment that dominate so much of their lives.
October 2012 Sullivan took his partnership with Amplatz further, donating $150,000 for the Sullivan Playground. Opened in June 2013, the Sullivan Playground was designed to be enjoyed by children of all ability levels. Patients and their healthy siblings can slide, climb, and explore, enjoying being outside and simply being children.
Sullivan's relationship with Amplatz also involves using his position as a sports celebrity to help the hospital's fundraising efforts. The celebrity chair of the hospital's golf classic, in June Sullivan hosted the fifth annual Champions for Children Celebrity Golf Classic. This event has raised more than $450,000 for Amplatz and directly supports Amplatz's Adopt A Room program that aims to create patient rooms that are as warm and home-like as possible.
In addition to his support for Amplatz, Sullivan also has visited the V.A. Medical Center each year he's been with the Vikings and has volunteered time with other local nonprofit groups.
As someone whose family has been touched by the support he has given to the University of Minnesota Amplatz Children's Hospital, it is my pleasure to congratulate John Sullivan on this honor. His job is to be strong, but Sullivan volunteers his time and his name for those struggling to be brave.