9 Who Care: Cedar Rapids man turns a prank into an opportunity to help others

Tonight's 9 Who Care nominee's acts of service started from a prank. But he's 100 percent business when it comes to helping others.
Published: Mar. 7, 2022 at 6:13 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Scott Hamsik has played sports his whole life. Now he’s passing down the knowledge of teamwork, and generosity to his 8-year-old daughter’s basketball team. He also coaches other sports she plays.

When he’s not teaching the girls how to pass on the court, he’s helping to organize events for the nonprofit Iowa Giving Crew. Hamsik organizes their big events, like their yearly operation give birds turkey drive. The event has been going on since a prank in 2017.

“Somebody posted on Craigslist that we were giving away free turkeys,” said Hamsik. “Our buddy was not giving away free turkeys, so we kind of just jumped into action, a few of us guys and girls, and we were able to feed about 80 families that first year.”

As the need has grown, so has the nonprofit. Iowa Giving Crew passed out more than 1,000 meals across Cedar Rapids, Waterloo and Iowa City last year.

“Helping people in general, I mean, it makes us all just as happy as can be,” said Hamsik. “I mean, when we give away a turkey, and you see people crying in their car, because we can’t give them hugs any more because of Covid, it breaks your heart knowing that there’s just that much of a need out there.”

On top of handing out turkeys, the Iowa Giving Crew has helped with derecho relief. They also took off to Texas to help during last year’s winter storm, and have raised money, and volunteered to help out nonprofits

“We’re trying to just really expand that,” said Hamsik. “Because we’re going to help out anywhere possible nowadays.”

Fellow Iowa Giving Crew member Nick Dusil nominated Hamsik for KCRG’s 9 Who Care. For years, he’s watched Hamsik’s selfless acts from helping out his daughter’s sports teams, to helping others.

“He’s a humble guy,” said Dusil. “But he’s well deserved, and I’m just so happy that he’s able to get it. With all the work that he does with us, and then in the community with coaching and everything, I think it’s two big things that really exemplifies volunteers in the 9 Who Care.”

Hamsik looks at that 2017 prank as a life-changing event.

“Because of the prank, we kind of owe whoever a thanks,” he said. “….because Iowa Giving Crew may not even be what it is today. So it was kind of a bad prank, but a blessing for all of us.”

Hamsik is happy to be a 9 Who Care honoree, but just like the lessons he teaches to the kids he coaches, it’s not about the awards.

“Regardless of whether I win this award, or somebody else wins this, I’m still going to wake up tomorrow morning and see where else I can help the community.”

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