Junior Alec Peters (Washington, Ill./Washington) and sophomore Georgi Donchetz (Savage, Minn./Burnsville) are among 257 nominees from Division I basketball teams for the 2016 Allstate WBCA and NABC Good Works Team. This prestigious award highlights student-athletes who have displayed a dedication to community service. Twenty award recipients, including five men's and five women's Division I basketball players, will be announced in February.
Peters made a big impact with his community following the devastating tornadoes that hit his hometown of Washington in November of 2013. Despite being a freshman in the middle of basketball season, Peters went home for a day the day after the tornadoes hit, assisting friends and family with sifting through debris and their recovery efforts. Two days following his return home, Peters stepped back onto the court for the first time and gave the Washington community something to be proud of, scoring 30 points in the Crusaders’ game at Evansville.
Then, in the summer of 2014, Peters brought his teammates and coaches back to Washington for a day, as the entire team took part in the Hope Swings initiative, a mission project between three local churches whose mission was to build and deliver 100 swing sets for families with children in Washington. The team delivered a completed swing set at the end of the day to a Washington family, while also taking time to visit areas which were hit by the tornado and hearing from Doug Damery, a member of the Washington community whose house was destroyed by the storm and whose family lived with the Peters’ family for a few weeks afterwards.
Peters has also contributed to the Crusaders' various community service initiatives within the Valpo community, including assisting police with traffic control during the city's annual Popcorn Fest, helping to rebuild ValPlayso - the city's featured playground, and walking with the team in the annual JDRF One Walk to help raise money for diabetes research.
Donchetz has spearheaded the "Crusaders Fight Cancer" initiative, an incentive-based program dedicated to funding cancer research. Business near and far have pledged various donations for each three-point field goal made by the Crusaders at home. 100% of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.
The inspiration for Crusaders Fight Cancer originated this past summer following the passing of teammate Haylee Thompson's mother, Kim McKinnon. McKinnon battled cancer for eight years.
"We were obviously devastated for Haylee and her family. This is our way of saying 'we're here for you, but we also want to do something for you'," Donchetz said.
In addition to serving as founder of Crusaders Fight Cancer, Donchetz has also participated in service projects within the Valparaiso community, including PenPals with Flint Lake Elementary, walking with youth at the annual Popcorn Fest, and packing kits for the Chicago Marathon. Donchetz also serves on the executive board for Valpo's LEAD (Learn, Encourage, Attitude, and Drive Change) program, an initiative focused on developing leadership skills for junior-high school students.
Donchetz joins Oakland's Elena Popkey as the only representatives from the Horizon League.