Senior Josh Dalki earned one of the most highly-touted awards.
By Molly Korzenowski
Josh Dalki picked up a copy of ESPN magazine in the Bethel University locker room and flipped to the page featuring the 2017 Allstate AFCA American Good Works team.
At first, Dalki didn’t think he had what it took to be on the team, but as he filled out his application, he realized he had a lot more volunteer work then he thought. Through his participation in High School Football and Baseball, Dalki volunteered for a program called Tackle Cancer and he traveled to the Dominican republic to work at an orphanage.
This year, 146 players were nominated for this honor and Dalki is one of the 22 players who made it. The American Good Works team is one of the highest off-field awards in college football, honoring the selfless spirit of players on and off the field.
During his freshman year at Bethel, Dalki took three hours out of each week to help people living in the Landfill Village mobile home park to speak more fluent English. Dalki found motivation to do all this volunteer work through his coaches and their ideals. They taught him that doing good things continues off the playing field, and that every Christian should be willing to give a helping hand.
Along with being a servant, Dalki is an intentional teammate on the field.
“He talks with everybody, he invests in a lot of guys,” Godfrey Mpetey, Dalki’s friend and teammate, said.
Mpetey describes Dalki as a relaxed but intense friend — someone who doesn’t take losses to heart or let wins take over his ego. Dalki often goofs off with the other guys. Whenever there is call for celebration, Dalki leads an orc cry, something he and some of his fellow teammates mastered after sharing a love for Lord of the Rings.
“A lot of guys gravitate towards him because of his personality and his spirit,” Mpetey said.
Both football and volunteer work helped Dalki to develop his upbeat spirit by forcing him out of his comfort zone. On the football field, he faced plenty of stressful situations like game day anxiety, coach criticism and even physical limitations that cause discomfort. When volunteering, Dalki met all sorts of different people with different backgrounds. He ran into language barriers and awkward situations. Through it all, he persevered and let it become a learning experience, something that would help him grown as an individual.
The AFCA American Good Works looks for many specific qualities when they select the team from all nominees: servitude, selflessness and good nature off the field. After making the team, there are more awards than just honor.
Dalki is currently volunteering with St. Paul Homework Centers, a tutoring program for underprivileged students and community members. A local Allstate representative will help out the organization by donating much-needed school supplies and other tools to some of the attendees of the program, demonstrating the spirit of the award.
“Allstate does this as a way to pair up with me in giving back to the local community a little bit, which is awesome,” he said.
Along with this, Dalki also gets to travel to the Sugar Bowl with a friend, where he and the other team members will be honored for their services on the field during halftime.