Manly Sea Eagles half Jackson Hastings has been nominated for the 2017 Ken Stephen Medal.
Despite his young age, Sea Eagles halfback Jackson has shown that he has what it takes to be an outstanding community role model for many years to come.
This year, Jackson has taken it upon himself, outside of club commitments, to make several trips to local hospitals and schools, spending time with young inpatients and students alike, and making an undoubted difference in their day. Jackson is actively involved in Manly's Read With An Eagle program which combines sport and literacy to foster a love of reading in school-age children.
Jackson has kindly donated personal gear to fundraise for various community initiatives, as well as individuals experiencing hardship. His generous personality shines through in all his interactions, he regularly initiates contact in his own time and at his own cost, the impact is always priceless.
This was clear for all to see when Jackson surprised avid fan and Sea Eagles member, Lee-Ann Ellem (pictured), this Easter.
Lee-Ann is wheelchair-bound but travels from the Central Coast with her mother, Deidre, for every home game. Jackson arranged the purchase of a new jersey ahead of the 2016/2017 season and, without Lee-Ann's knowing, gathered the entire team to sign it.
Upon arriving at Lottoland, Lee-Ann was greeted by Jackson who presented her with an Easter gift more memorable than any chocolate bunny.
The Ken Stephen Medal
Ken Stephen was an administrator who devoted 28 years to the NSWRL in various capacities. He retired shortly before his death in 1988. The Ken Stephen Medal recognises the efforts of an NRL player, who has not only achieved on the field, but has also committed time off the field to community projects.
A player is nominated by their NRL club for their involvement in charity work, youth development or community support. The nominated player will have consistently demonstrated their commitment to making a difference in their community and be seen as a role model in this area at their NRL club.
The NRL Community Awards recognise Rugby League's unsung heroes for the tireless work they do to support the game they love. From volunteers and teachers, to players at a first-grade level, the awards pause to honour, reflect and congratulate those who make a positive difference for many in their communities, week after week.
Footnote: This article first appeared on NRL.com