Mario's Mission: How a Husker fan is living the dream while overcoming the odds

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LINCOLN, Neb. Mario Flesner is a 19-year-old Nebraska fan who's living his Husker dream by helping out in the football equipment room through a work-based program for students and youth with disabilities.

Mario Flesner, "I'm just so happy to be around these guys. If I didn't get this job, I don't know where I would be at right now."

Mario has autism and is blind in one eye. The job, however, helps wash away his worries.

Tanner Farmer, Nebraska senior offensive lineman, "He's just so happy to be here and having that around you all the time is infectious. It makes you want to be happy. You can come in in the worst mood and you see Mario and a smile comes to your face, how ya doing, Mario?"

However life hasn't been easy. When he was younger, his mother was fighting addiction sending Mario and his brothers into foster care. So Mario found a new home with Diana Flesner. His mother got clean and eventually got her sons back. But just as things were turning around, he was dealt another blow. His mother passed away from cancer when he was 12-years-old.

Mario, "I wish that didn't happen but things happen for a reason but I don't know why but I just have to make sure that I'm doing everything I can for her."

When she passed away, Diana adopted Mario and his brothers into her home.

Diana Flesner, adoptive mother, "I talk to her a lot and I'm like, I hope you're pleased with Mario. And I know she's so pleased with Mario. She's with him now and feeling such joy in what an amazing young man Mario has become."

"I know she's here with me everyday helping me out with stuff. I love both my moms and they are so humble and try and think of what's best for me and I try and do things that are best for them. So I love my moms," says Mario.

Jay Terry, Nebraska head equipment manager, "He wants to serve people, all he talks about is trying to serve other people, take care of his family, worried about taking care of the players. He's a person that's always worried about other people and not himself."

Mario, "These guys have helped me with diversity and depression try and make sure that I'm always happy and I know sometimes I can't be happy. When I'm around them, I'm always happy. I'm always happy when I'm around them. I want to be around here for them. I just want to be their brother and help them out with stuff."