Rob Lembke, BVU Class of 2007; and Jeff Anderson, Class of 2003.
Thanks to a connection between two Buena Vista University alumni, a Des Moines woman's wish for her father and her uncle, who is battling multiple myeloma, to spend some quality time together at a Minnesota Vikings game was granted by a Des Moines radio station's Christmas Wish program.
Rob Lembke (BVU Class of 2007), who is LAZER 103.3's promotions director at the Des Moines Radio Group, assists on STAR 102.5's Christmas Wish committee.
"We had a daughter write in for her uncle who has multiple myeloma and might not live to see another Christmas," says Rob. "Her father and uncle are twins. Her uncle lives in Minnesota and they live here in Des Moines. Both her and her dad have made a lot of visits to Minnesota over the past year to spend time with her uncle, take him to hospital visits, and make sure he is comfortable. Her wish was to help her dad and uncle spend some quality time together away from the hospital before things take a turn for the worse and she mentioned that they are big Minnesota Vikings fans.
"As soon as I heard this, the first person I thought of was Jeff Anderson (Class of 2003) who works for the Vikings (director of corporate communications). I recalled meeting Jeff at an alumni event a few years ago but failed to find his contact information."
With the help of Jamii Claiborne (Class of 1996 and assistant professor of digital media at BVU), I was able to get Jeff's number to contact him about this wish," explains Rob. "Through Jeff's generosity to donate his time to help get my request to the proper channels in the Vikings organization, together we were able to pull off a wish that involved four tickets to the Vikings game against the Green Bay Packers on Dec. 30, a $200 gift card to cover travel and miscellaneous expenses, authentic Vikings jerseys for the dad and uncle, a field pass to get them on the field pre-game, and the ability to meet the Vikings defensive line coach, Brendan Daly. The kicker was that Daly gave up his personal tickets to the game to make this wish happen. All of this made possible by Jeff taking time out of his busy day to help me out with this wish."
"I'm blessed to work for an organization that has such a strong commitment to making a difference" says Jeff. "Having the flexibility from the Vikings to help fulfill requests like this is by far the best aspect of the job. What made this situation more special is the connection to Iowa and to Buena Vista. Those links to home will always provide extra incentive to help."
"I've noticed that BVU students and alumni are very compassionate to help out a fellow Beaver," adds Rob. "Even if what is being asked seems impossible, they will still do whatever they can to help out. A lot of this I can attribute to not only the quality of education the BVU professors gave us but how they also served as great mentors and life coaches to teach us morals and values that books could never offer."
Note: Jeff was instrumental in starting a "Game Day" internship program for the Vikings, which has created internship opportunities for several BVU students in recent years.