By Lauren Reho
Each year through the All Sports Association, the Taylor Haugen Foundation, presents a trophy to an athlete who best demonstrates a balance between academics, athleticism, leadership, community service and faith. The winner receives a $1,000 scholarship, a $1,000 donation to the athletic department of his or her school and a bronze trophy with an eagle taking flight to symbolize Isaiah 40: 30-32.
The Foundation has awarded trophies since 2009 to well-rounded student athletes in the area. In this series, we’re tracking the past winners from 2009 to 2021 to see where they are now in their journeys. This month is Josiah Pool, 2017 trophy winner.
Josiah graduated from the University of Florida with his bachelor of science in mechanical engineering and his master of science in management. He enjoys playing golf and basketball, and he has recently gotten into a card game called Magic the Gathering. He also enjoys cooking and is learning how to fly fish.
Pool works for a window and door manufacturing company based in Venice, Fla. He works remotely, so he still lives in Gainesville. He says he can see himself starting his own business down the road in a manufacturing or engineering consulting company, but he also has the option of going back home to work for the family contracting business.
“Winning the Taylor Haugen Trophy was a “huge encouragement as someone coming out of high school and entering a new season of life,” Pool said. “It was proof that God was using me and my platform in ways that I wasn’t completely aware of, and it was humbling to even be mentioned in the same sentence as T.”
Pool wishes more people would ask him about the small bracelet he wears with T’s words imprinted on it. It’s such an amazing story to tell and one that has lifted his spirits when in a rough patch. “Don’t Quit. Never Give Up!” were words written by a high school football player who already knew what it meant to be resilient, he said. T’s profound impact on the people around him and his attitude constantly remind Pool not to sell himself short or settle for less than what he is capable of. Pool knows the Lord promises a crown of glory for those who finish the race, just as T did.
“Knowing what Brian and Kathy have been through, and for them to still pour out their hearts and lives for the community, it speaks volumes about the things Jesus can do through people in the midst of tragedy, and it was awesome to be recognized by them,” he said.
Pool’s favorite Bible verse is Isaiah 41:10: “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
The idea of having the God of the universe on your side is pretty cool, he said. No matter what happens in this life, God promises to not let evil prevail against anyone, and as people walk through trials, God is able to strengthen them. He says that as someone who struggles to be courageous, especially as he begins to make big life and career decisions, this verse serves as a good reminder that he can make those decisions without fear of what may lie on the other side because the Lord is with him.
Visit MyBayLifeNWFL.com to read about previous months’ trophy winner highlights.