Florida State junior wide receiver Travis Rudolph, a West Palm Beach native, has earned the 2016 Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award. He has been a stalwart in the Tallahassee community throughout his three years at FSU, regularly attending community outreach projects with his teammates and other Seminole athletes. In August of this year, one of Travis’ visits became national news when he had lunch with Bo Paske, an autistic middle schooler that Travis saw eating lunch by himself one day.
Travis, who didn’t know Bo or that he was autistic, sat with Bo to eat pizza during lunch. One of the workers at the school took a candid picture of the two, which made it’s way to Bo’s mother Leah’s attention. She posted a heartwarming thank you on Facebook, a move that made Travis’ unselfish act go viral. Travis and the FSU football team continued their relationship with the Paske’s, with Bo and Leah frequently seen at FSU practices and games throughout the season. Prior to the season opener against Ole Miss, Travis surprised Bo with a personalized jersey and tickets to the game in Orlando.
Earlier this year, Travis and Bo’s story was recognized by the Musial Award, given annually to the stories of sportsmanship and compassion throughout sports, joining the likes of Cal Ripken Jr. to earn this year’s honor.
About The Award: Freddie Solomon played his college football at the University of Tampa and went on to play for the Miami Dolphins for three seasons before joining the San Francisco 49ers where he helped win two Super Bowl championships. His career in the National Football League as a wide receiver came to a close after 11 years. Then the Sumter, SC, native known as “Fabulous Freddie”, came back to Hillsborough County to make a more lasting impact. Solomon devoted the next 12 years of his life to the youths of Tampa Bay, working with the Sheriff’s department to teach kids life lessons through football. His efforts impacted more than two decades of youths and his lessons are still carried on in the community. The Freddie Solomon Community Spirit Award continues Solomon’s efforts to help make the world a better place by annually honoring a collegiate football player who has impacted the lives of others through giving and community service.