Joseph “Patrick” O’Connell ’17 pitches in with playtime at the Happiness House
day care center in Geneva.

Being a Statesman

by Natalia St. Lawrence ’16

Hobart football offensive lineman Joseph “Patrick” O’Connell III ’17 shows up to make an impact.

After three years of dedicated service to the Geneva community, O’Connell’s impact was recognized when he was named “Volunteer of the Year” by Happiness House, a local organization that provides educational, residential and health services to community members with and without disabilities.

O’Connell has made his passion for football an opportunity to serve in the Geneva community, carrying on the tradition of turning “Tackles & Touchdowns” on the field into an annual fundraiser to benefit Happiness House. Each year, the football team asks fans to pledge a donation based on the number of tackles and touchdowns scored by the Statesmen during the game. Since the fundraiser’s inception seven seasons ago, the team has raised more than $41,000 for the organization. O’Connell, the team’s captain and an economics major at Hobart, also organized a day for his teammates to play games and read to the children at the Happiness House preschool program.

“Those preschoolers are fearless; I mean they’re only as tall as my waist but they still line up to play with us, and take us down in some tackles,” recounts O’Connell. O’Connell’s win of “Volunteer of the Year” makes him the third Hobart football player to receive the honor, after Jarrid Blades ’12 and Michael Green ’14.

O’Connell, who has played in 27 career games while a member of the Hobart football team, also earned academic honors in 2014 and 2015 as a CoSIDA Academic All-District and was a two-time Liberty League All-Academic selection. During his 2015 season, O’Connell took over as left tackle for Ali Marpet ’15 (now a guard for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers) and helped the Statesmen rush for a season-high 276 yards against Union College. An injury prevented O’Connell from playing in his 2016 season, but he used the opportunity to devote even more time to his community service endeavors.

Offensive coach Jon Drach says O’Connell has been a dedicated leader to his team, saying he’s the type of player who was able to lead through his actions. “He’s always willing to give his time and energy to those in need. He’s a perfect example of what it means to be a Statesman.”


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