When Elmhurst College celebrates Community Day at this Saturday’s football game, the Bluejay Backers will present their annual Community Service Award to Dan Gibbons, founder of the annual Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot.
The Bluejays will host Loras College at Langhorst Field this Saturday, September 2. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
At halftime, the Bluejay Backer Community Service Award will be given to Gibbons, whose popular Turkey Trot takes place on Thanksgiving morning and winds through the City of Elmhurst, finishing outside Elmhurst College's A.C. Buehler Library.
Gibbons grew up in Elmhurst, volunteering as a Little League baseball coach and also coaching grade school football at Visitation Catholic School for more than 15 years.
In 1984, Gibbons organized family and friends to host what he thought would be a one-time event fundraiser to benefit WGN Radio's Good Neighbor Food Drive. Despite not having sponsors, the race attracted 74 runners and raised $520 to feed the hungry. The following year, Gibbons received his first sponsorship donation from the Elmhurst Police Benevolent Athletic Association to help bring his 'one-time event' back for a second year.
What started as a one-time event is now entering its 34th year. More than 8,000 runners and walkers participate in the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot, and more than 500 sponsors and 200 volunteers help make the race a success each year. To date, the event has raised nearly $3.9 million dollars for local food banks and emergency shelters in DuPage County and other local Elmhurst organizations.
Starting in October, the Dan Gibbons Turkey Trot Foundation will open a culinary training program in Wheaton known as Café Liberty, for veterans in need of employment.
The Bluejay Backers organization has presented its Community Service Award annually since 1996.