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May 8, 2013

Abbott, Vegas Earn Lumberjack Service Awards

The Lumberjack Service Awards were announced today while the NAU Male and Female Freshmen of the Year will be announced Thursday and the NAU Male and Female Athletes of the Year will be announced on Friday.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – NAU Football offensive lineman Jake Abbott and Track and Field thrower Kasandra Vegas have been named the male and female recipients of the 2012 Lumberjack Service Awards, signifying them as the top student-athletes in giving back to the community.

"Again this academic year we have several student-athletes who were worthy of the Lumberjack Service Award," NAU assistant athletic director for academics Pam Lowie said. "Our student-athletes do a tremendous job of giving back to the community, and more importantly, they understand the importance of community service."

Abbott, a redshirt freshman from Peoria, Ariz., recorded almost 70 hours of community service for the 2012-2013 academic year. In addition to volunteering with the Special Olympics, Red Ribbon Week, and youth camps in Prescott, he worked with Younglife Christian ministry building houses in Mexico in the poverty stricken areas of Rocky Point. Abbott played in two games last season and earned a start against Idaho State.

"Jake spent an entire weekend in Mexico building houses while still maintaining high academic marks and performing his athletic duties," Lowie said. "As an underclassman Jake is also an incredible role model, and I look forward to having him continue giving back to others while representing NAU Athletics."

A senior from Honolulu, Hawaii, Vegas completed over 90 hours of community service hours in Flagstaff and the Northern Arizona Community this past year. In addition to her role as Co-President of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), she volunteered her time for Student-Athlete for a Day, Red Ribbon Week, trail building, coaching local athletes, jog-a-thon, Special Olympics, and St. Mary's Food Bank while also assisting the Academics staff in coordinating and communicating events for other student-athletes. Vegas has scored points in three Big Sky Championships in her career heading into this week's conference meet.

"Kasandra volunteered her time with a number of different organizations, and in addition to her own volunteer hours, she organized and led many different service events for her fellow teammates and student-athletes," Lowie said. "She is a role model and epitome of what we look for in a Lumberjack student-athlete."

Abbott and Vegas led an impressive group of NAU student-athletes that completed over 3,000 volunteer hours locally during the 2012-2013 academic year.