With support from Huskers and Broncos, freshman Samek organizes fundraiser for mentor’s family

As a high school student, Hastings College freshman Taylor Samek wanted to explore his interest in criminal justice. He volunteered for the Lincoln Police Department and worked primarily with the SWAT team where he got to know Officer John Clarke, the former offensive lineman for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Huskers died while weightlifting in February 2013.
“While visiting the station one day, he sat down and took time out of his day to talk to me about a career in law enforcement,” said Samek. “That act of kindness is the reason why I am putting together this fundraiser for Officer Clarke’s family.”
Jump Shots for John is a fundraiser to benefit medical and college expenses for Clarke’s wife, Lisa, and children, Colton, Hope and Chayse. Scheduled for Friday, May 3 at Hastings College’s Lynn Farrell Arena (800 E. 12th Street), the event will include a dinner and autograph signing at 5:30 p.m. and a basketball game pitting current and former Husker athletes against the Hastings College Bronco Men’s Basketball team. The basketball game will start at 7:30 p.m. and feature a raffle with prizes donated by businesses in Hastings and Lincoln. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under and may be purchased at the door or by contacting Samek directly at tsamek@hastings.edu. Updates about the event and tickets also are available at www.facebook.com/JumpShotsforJohn.
“With the support of Hastings College, I have been working very hard to put together this fundraiser. I have been amazed at the support I have been receiving for this effort,” said Samek, a 2012 Lincoln High School graduate who is now pursuing a degree in criminal justice and playing on the Hastings College Bronco Baseball team. “Officer Clarke was one of those people who would give you the shirt off his back if it would help you in some way. He constantly went above and beyond the call to duty whenever it was possible. His colleague in the Lincoln Police Department Sergeant Destry Jaeger described Officer Clarke as ‘the closest thing to a saint on earth’ he has met. Many people felt this way about Officer Clarke. I was fortunate enough to meet Officer Clarke, and with support from the Hastings and Lincoln communities and surrounding areas, want to give back to his family.”
Clarke served on the LPD for 21 years, leading the department’s K-9 unit through its integration with the SWAT Team and Field Force. He was involved in the community with Special Olympics and midget football.
To contribute to the event or to schedule an interview with Samek, contact him at tsamek@hastings.edu or (402)-802-3535. 
Founded in 1882, Hastings College is a private, four-year liberal arts institution located in Hastings, Nebraska, that focuses on student academic and extracurricular achievement. With 64 majors in 32 areas of study and 12 pre-professional programs, Hastings College has been named among “America’s Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report, a “Best in the Midwest” by The Princeton Review and a “Best Buy in College Education” by Barron’s. Hastings College: Pursue Your Passion®. Visit Hastings.edu for more.

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