North Queensland Toyota Cowboys workhorse Tom Gilbert’s commitment off the field has been recognised with his nomination for the 2021 Ken Stephen Medal.
Public voting for the prestigious community award is now open, and members and fans have until 8 August to cast their vote for the young Cowboys second-rower and Norths Devils junior.
VOTE NOW >>> nrl.com/community/awards/ken-stephen-medal/
With Gilbert’s late pre-season injury offering a valuable opportunity to give back, the nomination recognises Tom’s contribution through club-led community initiatives as well as his own proactive approach to supporting a key local charity.
The 20-year-old is a well-known member of the St Clare’s Catholic School community where he has connected with students since 2019 with the Cowboys Adopt-a-School program.
Spending time in both the classroom and the playground in 2021, Tom has been involved in activities and Q&A sessions helping students build resilience through gratitude, empathy and mindfulness.
His work with youth and championing education also includes support for the club’s Try for 5! program, encouraging students to attend and engage with school every day of the week.
His efforts on game day aren’t limited to the field either, with his involvement in the Cowboys Field of Dreams program bringing smiles to the faces of individuals from the Golden Octopus Foundation and Pyjama Foundation through player meet and greets.
In addition to his club commitments, Tom has taken a proactive approach in assisting Brighter Lives, the official charity partner of the Townsville Hospital and Health Service, by volunteering his profile and time to bring awareness to their events and fundraising initiatives and spend time with young patients.
Tom said despite a rough start to the year with injury, the setback gave him an opportunity in his fourth year with the Cowboys to reach out and help others.
“Giving back to community helps keep me grounded, lets me know who I am and brings me a sense of reality,” he said.
“I’ve been really fortunate to meet some kids who’ve been going through a hard time and it really allowed me to put things into perspective.
“I did have an injury at the start of the year but to see what some of these kids go through, I’m very fortunate to be in the position I am as a footy player.”
Players are nominated for the Ken Stephen Medal by each of the 16 NRL clubs in recognition of their off-field community and charity work, while also considering each player’s on-field record.
The fan vote winner will pick up $3,500 for their junior rugby league club, while the 2021 Ken Stephen Medalist will win $3,500 for their charity of choice and $3,000 directly.
For more information about the Ken Stephen Medal and to vote, visit nrl.com/community/awards/ken-stephen-medal/