Valpo's Koepke Earns Coca-Cola Community All-American Award
Monday, April 30, 2007
Coca-Cola North America and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) today announced that Valparaiso University's Ryan Koepke (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead H.S.) is one of seven recipients of the 2006-07 Coca-Cola Community All-American award. The Coca-Cola Community All-Americans program recognizes, celebrates and applauds student-athletes who are making a difference in their communities.

The Coca-Cola Community All-Americans will receive their awards during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon at NACDA's 42nd Annual Convention. Additionally, Coca-Cola will make a $5,000 donation to the community/philanthropic cause of each recipient's choice. One winner was selected in each of the following categories ? Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I-A), Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA), Division I (formerly Division I-AAA), Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior/Community College. Koepke represented the Football Championship Subdivision.

Koepke is a linebacker majoring in mechanical engineering with a 3.626 GPA. He was recognized as a 2006 Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association Academic All-Star and was honored on the 2005 and 2006 Pioneer Football Academic Honor Roll. A member of the Academic All-PFL First Team and the 2006 American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team, he was Valpo's leading tackler in 2006.

Koepke averages 30 hours of community service each month at a variety of organizations. For example, he volunteers at several local elementary schools teaching young students the importance of staying in school. Koepke has also volunteered his time at Camp Watcha Wanna Do, for young cancer patients and survivors, Habitat for Humanity, the Spring Valley Homeless Shelter and the Porter County Hospital. Additionally, he participated in the ?I Need A Hug" Program and the Interfaith Hospitality Network. This past summer Koepke visited Guatemala on a Hands of Hope International Medical Mission Trip. He assisted in the treatment of 1,021 patients, personally pulled 29 teeth and gave 8 Lidacaine shots.

Koepke is the vice president and philanthropic chairman of the Theta Chi Fraternity and a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society. Furthermore, Koepke is a Type 1 diabetic. He has to give himself four shots a day and check his blood sugar 12-14 times daily. Instead of using his condition as an excuse, he uses it as motivation with the hope of being a positive example for others experiencing challenges.