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Team citizenship: Viking football players helped a couple move into Vinton on Wednesday.

Over and over, Vinton-Shellsburg football coach Jim Womochil repeats a mantra that defines his goal of citizenship for his players: Our team will be its best when our school’s best students are our best players.

By this, Womochil is referring to excellence in the classroom, and in the community, as well as on the football field.

To accomplish this goal, Womochil and the Vikings participated in two extra projects this week, while preparing for the upcoming season.

On Tuesday, the team heard from former NFL kicker Nick Lowery, who is now a member of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame. Lowery has started Champions Against Bullying, and has been speaking at schools throughout the country. Lowery came to the Vinton area after bidding on a stay at Phil Barkdoll’s cabin at a charity auction in Arizona recently. Womochil said Barkdoll then helped arrange for Lowery to speak to the football team.

Lowery grew up next door to Supreme Court Justice and former NFL player Byron White. While trying repeatedly to earn a starting job in the NFL, Lowery worked at times on Capitol Hill. He finally got his big break in 1980 and spent the next 16 years as a kicker, 13 for Kansas City and three for the New York Jets.

Lowery spoke to the Viking players about his career as well as how students should treat others and how champions should set an example.

Then on Wednesday, the players helped move in a couple who had moved from Missouri to Vinton. Several Vikings unloaded a full U-Haul trailer for the couple.

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Phil, great opportunity for the players to hear from a Hall of Famer with an important message. Thanks for encouraging this to happen!!
By: Don Eells on August 22nd 2:09pm

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