The AOG Service Spotlight highlights members of the Air Force Academy family (grads, cadets, family and friends of the Academy) every month who perform outstanding service that makes a positive and meaningful impact in their communities and beyond. Let these inspiring stories foster a spirit of service within the Air Force Academy family and inspire further commitment to a lifetime of service.
Isaiah Sanders '20
2nd Lt. Isaiah Sanders '20 is an inspiring leader. When he wasn't studying systems engineering or quarterbacking the Falcons on the football field, this recent Academy graduate was always helping and teaching others. Those passions continue to move him in new directions ahead.
Nationally recognized for his community service and academic accomplishments, Sanders was a finalist for several prestigious awards this past year including:
- The Wuerffel Trophy, college football's premier award for community service.
- The Jason Witten Collegiate Man of the Year Award for demonstrating an outstanding record of leadership by exhibiting exceptional courage, integrity and sportsmanship.
- The William V. Campbell Trophy, recognizing an individual as the absolute best football scholar-athlete in the nation for his combined academic success, football performance and exemplary leadership.
He was also selected for the 2019 Allstate and American Football Coaches Association Good Works Team.
Sanders has started up local initiatives and worked with national organizations to speak and perform for high school and college students, encouraging them and sharing his experiences.
In high school Sanders surprisingly wasn't as involved in community service. He said, "Community service, in my mind, looked a certain way. I think one of the things I realized — especially this past year as I started getting recognized for service — is that a lot of what I was doing was just engaging my passions because I have a passion to speak. I have a passion to teach. I have a passion to perform, and to try to creatively write things that help engage people's minds but also engage their hearts."
As an Air Force Academy cadet and quarterback, Sanders realized that he has a platform, stage and a voice that should be used wisely. He shared an experience reading to second graders, and knowing how much that meant to them. If it is that easy to put a smile on other people's faces and make their day better by giving some time, he reflected that it wasn't really a matter of him selecting this service but more a matter of it choosing him.
Sanders is currently in California gearing up to start his Master's program at Stanford. He will finish out his football eligibility there as a rare graduate-transfer from Air Force. He recently sent along a thank you message to Falcons fans.
Community service, in my mind, looked a certain way. I think one of the things I realized — especially this past year as I started getting recognized for service — is that a lot of what I was doing was just engaging my passions because I have a passion to speak. I have a passion to teach. I have a passion to perform, and to try to creatively write things that help engage people's minds but also engage their hearts.
— Isaiah Sanders '20