Raising Cane's Community Engagement Award: Grammel, Woollard earn honor for charity work

FRANK DIRENNA
fdirenna@thisweeknews.com
Columbus Academy's Annalise Grammel, who earned 16 varsity letters in four sports, organized the first two Honor Flight Columbus 5K run/walk events in 2018 and 2019 to raise money to transport senior veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit war memorials.

A willingness to help others and a desire to make an impact in central Ohio are among the reasons Annalise Grammel and Andrew Woollard earned this year's Raising Cane's Community Engagement Awards.

The awards were announced June 18 during the Central Ohio All Star Preps online show.

Grammel, a 2020 graduate of Columbus Academy who earned 16 varsity letters in four sports, organized the first two Honor Flight Columbus 5K run/walk events in 2018 and 2019. She helped raise $41,000 for the organization, which transports senior veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit war memorials.

In what began as a way to honor her late great-grandfather, Grammel turned a worthwhile cause into a passion and made a difference in her community. Her great-grandfather, Atcherson Bercaw, was a World War II veteran who died in 1990.

"I'm super happy that we were able to raise so much money for the veterans," Grammel said. "It definitely means a lot, so I'm excited that we were able to do that. I did it to commemorate (my great-grandfather's) memory and it's also something that I became pretty passionate about through my volunteering."

After having 110 participants and raising $12,500 in the first year of the 5K, Grammel and her committee saw the event grow to 466 competitors and $28,500 raised last year.

Grammel also works with Autism Speaks as a head swimming instructor.

At Academy, she holds the girls cross country program's record of 18 minutes, 31 seconds, which she established during her freshman season. She also competed in soccer, swimming and diving and track and field, but she missed her senior track season because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

She will compete in soccer and track at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana.

"Annalise exemplifies the true essence of the Raising Cane's Community Engagement Award," said Eric Ongaro, CEO of Raising Cane's Ohio. "As the organizer of the 2018 and 2019 Honor Flight 5K run/walk, Annalise has been able to help raise $41,000 for the organization to support senior veterans all while earning 16 varsity letters in four sports and earning a 3.93 grade-point average."

Hilliard Davidson boys lacrosse coach Adam Beasley calls Woollard the prototypical student-athlete, because the 2020 graduate excels in athletics, the classroom and in the community.

"His attitude in the classroom, in the community, on the field, all-around, (he is) the (type of) kid that you want to build (your) program around," Beasley said.

Woollard was a defensive lineman and linebacker on the football team and a defender for the lacrosse team. He missed his senior season in lacrosse because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Among his contributions, Woollard has served as a flag football and softball coach for Special Olympics Ohio since his sophomore year.

"I like being with the athletes and seeing how their football teams aren't much different than ours," he said. "I enjoy watching the guys get to play, and watching them win games is always a great feeling."

Woollard has assisted in running a youth lacrosse clinic and was a volunteer for the Purple Heart Run 5K last August in Columbus, both through the Davidson lacrosse program. He also is a volunteer teacher at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church.

"It's really important that I give back to my community," he said. "They've given me a lot of opportunities to better myself and I love to give back."

Woollard will play lacrosse at Kenyon College, where he will major in economics.

"Andrew embodies the core principals of the Raising Cane's Community Engagement Award," Ongaro said. "His commitment to Special Olympics, the Purple Heart 5K and as a volunteer teacher at his church all while maintaining a 3.83 grade-point average exemplifies his commitment to supporting his community."

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank