Annual Jefferson Award Champion named, heading to national ceremony | UToledo News

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Annual Jefferson Award Champion named, heading to national ceremony

To date, Jordan Keefe has collected more than 3,000 shoes for those in need through a nonprofit he created after visiting Haiti last year.

Jordan Keefe, a UT student who started Save The Feet, a nonprofit that collects shoes for those in need, was named the University’s 2013 Jefferson Champion and received the award from Lawrence J. Burns, vice president for external affairs, during a ceremony last month.

Jordan Keefe, a UT student who started Save The Feet, a nonprofit that collects shoes for those in need, was named the University’s 2013 Jefferson Champion and received the award from Lawrence J. Burns, vice president for external affairs, during a ceremony last month.

His trip to Haiti was part of the Learning Through Service course at The University of Toledo, taught by Dr. Sammy Spann, assistant provost with the Center for International Studies Programs. Keefe was joined by 15 other students for a mission trip to help provide food, water, housing, education and medical care.

The experience, Keefe said, changed everything for him.

“I saw kids walking around either barefoot or with two-liter pop bottles on their feet to keep from getting parasitic diseases,” Keefe said. “It changed us a lot. And after we left, we wanted to do something more.”

Upon his return, Keefe and three other classmates created Save The Feet — a nonprofit that collects shoes for those in need.

For his work, Keefe was chosen as the UT Jefferson Award honoree in August and was selected as the 2013 champion at a Feb. 26 luncheon for all honorees.

“The room was filled with people who have done amazing things, so to be recognized like this is a blessing and an honor,” Keefe said.

In addition to Keefe, the 2013 honorees were Dr. Robert Rudolph, Emily Hardcastle, Dr. Patrick Lawrence, Denise Oancea, Anna McCune, Carter Bayer, Yelena Zhernovskiy, Dr. Jeanine Diller, Drew O’Donnel, Cindy Reinsel and Hannah Konnagan. Watch videos about the UT monthly winners here.

As champion, Keefe will represent UT at the national Jefferson Award ceremonies June 17-18 in Washington, D.C. He will be joined by thousands of others who donate their time and money to helping those in need, as well as some of the politicians from both the Capitol and Ohio.

“It’s not over, it’s only just beginning,” Keefe said. “It’s nice to be recognized, but it’s more than that. This journey of collecting shoes and getting them to different countries is still going, and this award doesn’t end that.”

Of the more than 3,000 shoes collected, 125 already have been sent to Haiti. The remaining collection of shoes will be sent this year.

To donate shoes of any size and style to Keefe’s organization, visit savethefeet.org.

To nominate someone for a Jefferson Award, visit utoledo.edu/jeffersonaward.

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