The fundraiser for former Stephenville High School football standout Justin Monk is almost here, and the community has already responded in a big way.
Monk recently was diagnosed with a rare neurological cancer in his brain and spinal cord, and Saturday is the day set aside for the Monk Strong Football/Cheer Camp & Family Fun Day. The event will be from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. at Stephenville High school. The camps will be on the SHS practice fields, while the other events will be in Gandy Gym.
Among the local names of note who have committed to attend the event are former NFL football players Kevin Kolb and Sedrick Ellis. Kolb played six seasons in the NFL, including stops in Philadelphia and Arizona.
Other former Yellow Jackets planning to be on hand include Kelan Luker and new SHS head football coach Sterling Doty, along with Oklahoma assistant strength and conditioning coach Bryan Kegans and the all-time SHS leading rusher Zac Hunter. Luker is the school’s all-time leader in career passing yards and touchdown passes.
“Things are going well. We’ve gotten a number of corporate sponsors,” said Aaron Collier, a former teammate of Monk’s on the 1998-99 SHS teams. “A good majority of the 98-99 teams are coming.
“It goes to the community of Stephenville, and the family atmosphere of this community. As soon as people hear it, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ they can help, it’s ‘how’ they can help. It’s an easy sell.”
The same goes for the former Yellow Jackets players and teammates of Monk.
“Pretty much any of the former players — it really is a family,” Collier said. “We’re willing to be there for one another. It’s been a neat opportunity of me, and I think it has renewed some friendships that had gone dormant for a while.”
The day will feature not only the youth football and cheerleading camps, but also a silent auction and carnival activities for kids including bounce houses and face painting. Collier noted that registration for the two camps can be done on Saturday for those who have not already done so.
The silent auction will include signed sports apparel such as helmets, jerseys and footballs. Among the items donated for the auction will be provided by former Yellow Jacket standout Kendal Briles, now the offensive coordinator at Florida State University, and former SHS head coach Joseph Gillespie, now defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for Tulsa University.
Some Tarleton State University items will also be available, Collier said. Other auction items will include fishing and hunting trips, gift baskets and restaurant gift cards.
Monk was a standout linebacker on the SHS state championship football teams in the 1998 and 1999 seasons. Last October he was one of five inductees into the the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
The Tarleton State University graduate has been receiving treatment for PPTID (parenchymal tumor of intermediate differentiation) at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in Temple.
Monk and his wife, Monica, live with their four young children in Hamilton County. He has been working as a registered nurse in the Hamilton Healthcare System emergency room. Monk served four years in the Marines, and was a squad leader in 2005 during a tour of duty in Afghanistan.
For more information on the fundraiser, call 254-968-8741, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Those who pre-register online can receive a Monk Strong T-shirt.