Kiel makes a big impact on and off the field


Adam Kiel does volunteer work earlier this month in New Orleans.

By Jimmy Johnson

Adam Kiel is a mountain of a man.

But even the 6’5″, 308-pound NIU offensive lineman could not do all of the pushing required in helping the area of New Orleans still recovering from Hurricane Katrina more than five years ago.

The redshirt reserve offensive lineman was selected along with 22 other college football players to be a part of the 2010 Allstate AFCA Good Works Team.

Kiel said that seeing New Orleans still in wreckage put into perspective the good fortune that he has in his life.

“It really does make you think of what you have and everything you’ve accomplished,” Kiel said.

During the bus ride that took them over to the Lower 9th Ward, which Kiel stated being “one of the hardest hit places by Hurricane Katrina,” the players got to know each other.

Yet once they arrived at the 9th Ward area, those discussions abruptly ended by what was taken in with their own eyes.

“It was stone-cold silence on that bus,” Kiel said. “To see the wreckage personally and to see how the area is still being affected, to how it hasn’t really come back fully, it was something different.”

From there, Kiel and his fellow AFCA Good Works teammates helped put up a greenhouse, mended fences and chopped down wild brush.

“It was a great experience to be working with those people,” Kiel said of his fellow recipients, along with Allstate employees who volunteered also.

The 22-selected players were allowed to bring one guest down with him to take part in the weeklong experience.

The Wentzville, Mo. native selected his father, Marc, whom he describes as “one of his heroes.”

“He’s everything I want to be,” Adam Kiel said.

Adam Kiel had experience with volunteer work through Habitat for Humanity, something he credited his parents for getting him involved with.

“Adam’s always been someone who has been concerned and always looking to help somebody,” Marc Kiel said. “For him to be recognized for those efforts is really sweet.”

Marc described that community involvement is stressed heavily in the Kiel family. To see his son Adam being given such a honor feels like the ultimate payoff of being a good parent.

“It’s a life-long effort for my wife and I,” Marc Kiel said. “All of our children have been great volunteers in some sorts, so I guess I did something right.”

Adam Kiel is the second NIU player all-time to be named to the All State AFCA Good Works Team along with 2008 member Matt Simon.