Georgia Southern offensive lineman and Peachtree Ridge grad Trevor McBurnett, shown during a community service trip to Honduras, is a national nominee for the AFCA Allstate Good Works Team. (Special Photo)
There was no hiding out, which was fine by Trevor McBurnett.
When you’re a 6-foot-2, 300-pound offensive lineman in an impoverished Honduran village, you tend to stand out. But that was the point for the Peachtree Ridge grad on his service trip earlier on this year — to make an impact.
“Yeah, there was definitely a size difference,” a laughing McBurnett said. “It was a lot of fun teaching them more about American football instead of their football (soccer). They loved it.”
The charity work, coupled with his other community service with his Georgia Southern football team, earned McBurnett a spot as one of 151 nominees nationwide for the Allstate American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team. A nice honor for the redshirt junior, it’s just as big a deal for the Eagles’ football program.
“I’m just glad to be a part of a team that puts in extra work like that,” McBurnett said.
It wasn’t always that way.
McBurnett said he really wasn’t involved in community service as a high-schooler, not for a lack of interest but more because he wasn’t sure where or how to get involved. As part of a college football team, those options opened immediately at the next level.
“Honestly, I didn’t really do a lot of volunteering in high school,” McBurnett said. “I just didn’t know what avenues there were to get into it. But the more I got into it freshman year here, the more I liked it. … The first time I went to the Boys and Girls Club, seeing how happy those kids were when we played with them and interacted with them, it definitely gave you a reason to come back.”
It also pushed him to pursue more ways to serve.
One of the most intriguing avenues came with the trip to Honduras, which wasn’t a typical sign up and you’re in type of outing. More than 200 applicants from Georgia Southern apply for the alternative spring break mission trip each year, then student leaders pare that list down to 100 finalists based on applications and essays. A group interview and one-on-one interviews finished up the process, so just getting picked as one of the eight Eagle students for the trip was a chore.
Once there, McBurnett helped with repainting and concrete work at an orphanage. He assisted on the construction of a new school for an impoverished village. He discussed scholarship opportunities for Honduran students to attend Georgia Southern.
Just as importantly, he played games and spent time with youngsters engaged by his smiling face and the massive frame that has made him a starter the past two seasons on Georgia Southern’s offensive line.
Head coach Jeff Monken and the equipment staff sent more than 50 Georgia Southern T-shirts down for children in the orphanage, and McBurnett donated the football he took on the trip.
“I was just impressed with how appreciative everyone was for what we were doing there,” McBurnett said. “Everyone welcomed us, fed us and opened up their houses to us because we were helping these people get to a better place.”
Will Hammock can be reached via email at email@example.com. His column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock.