As the mother of a child with autism, it does Cathy Martinez's heart good to see Nebraskans with special needs get special attention from Cornhusker athletes.
It's especially sweet for Cathy since she is the one that dreamed up this Big Red wonderland in 2009, "A friend of mine did a similar event with the Kansas City Chiefs with children with autism and I approached Tom Osborne about 4 years ago and asked if we could do what they do in Kansas City and do it with the Huskers and he was all about it. And he wanted to open it up to a broader spectrum and to have all children and adults with special needs."
Sarah Firestone was recruited out of Pennsylvania to throw the javelin at Nebraska, "That was one of the the biggest things why I came here because Husker athletes give back to the community more than anybody I've seen and it's really about us reaching out to the community and helping these kids have fun because they look up to us as mentors."
Little Katie Glenn has taken part in the Husker Heroes event all four times that it's taken place. Her mom Carol appreciates what the NU athletes do, "It's really great that the athletes take their time to come out here and share with the kids and they really look up to them, I think it gives them great role models and someone to strive to be like. They've just been nothing but warm and welcoming to the kids every time we've been out here."
Ten different special needs groups came together to make this event happen and it has gotten more and more popular as the years have gone on .
Sunday night, Husker heroes was at capacity with 260 special needs individuals who brought as many as 3 guests a piece.
That means there were more than a thousand Husker fans in attendance.