What was a disappointing season on the field for the Okanagan Sun just got a little brighter off of it.
Receiver Ben White has been named the 2012 recipient of the Past Commissioners Community Service Award.
The award is given annually to an outstanding young man playing football for a CJFL team as well as contributing to his community.
White will receive the award Friday night during the banquet of Champions in Langley.
He is a fifth year graduating receiver for the Sun out of Okanagan Mission Secondary School in Kelowna.
For the last three seasons White has been a key member of the Sun offence with 51 receptions for 1,389 yards and nine touchdowns.
The soft spoken White has been a leader among the receivers both due to his unassuming demeanour and willingness to offer advice to younger players.
Sun general manager Jay Christensen, who has coached some of the best receivers ever to play for the Okanagan Sun, says White is special for reasons beyond just his on field abilities.
“Ben is such a solid player. As a third year receiver he would play on any team that I have been involved with. His speed and hands are both exceptional," says Christensen.
"But, the thing with Ben is he is such an exceptional person. He brings a respectful way to the locker room and the field that is infectious. You can see younger players notice it even if they are unaware of it completely. He is a real role model on how you should carry yourself and respect your opponent.”
Whitewas named the club’s most sportsmanlike player in both the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
During 2012, he had the opportunity to live this out in his community, province and internationally.
In February and again in June, White travelled to Haiti, initially to explore ways he might be of help.
Through distributing food and clothing, organizing medical supplies and light construction, there is always a need to fill and work to be done in Haiti.
He worked with Rod, Debbie, Tim and Katie Wray of Kamloops, who are currently rebuilding Camp Mahanaim at Les Cayes, Haiti. The purpose of the camp is to raise up youth leaders and mentors within the villages of the area. White was also involved in coaching the girl's volleyball team, ages 9-12.
Preventive health and hygiene is a priority and Ben identified a list of items required, a fresh well water system that could both service the camp and local area, two necessary septic fields, as well as a renovation of the boy's dorm.
Upon returning home, White's enthusiasm has been infectious and he has been the reason over $50,000 has been raised to help with this work. He is currently planning to take a group of family and friends to Haiti next spring.