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Pre-Super Bowl event spotlights excellence in workplace volunteerism

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While football fans are excited to see the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos at the 2014 Super Bowl on Feb. 2, corporations like Defender Direct are doing their part to improve the world around us.

CEO Dave Lindsey and Mike Lantz, chief learning officer of Defender Direct, launched the Super Service Challenge in 2011 to reward volunteers from the workplace who give back to their communities.

The Super Service Challenge, in partnership with Drew Brees' Dream Foundation, recently awarded $1 million to four businesses that have made a difference in their communities by organizing food drives for the homeless, planting trees to improve the environment, and donating school supplies to underprivileged children.

The Super Service Challenge sponsors the Super Bowl Breakfast on Jan. 31 in New York, where the charitable efforts of challenge winners will be recognized.

New York Giants defensive end, Justin Tuck, will also be in attendance to hand off the Bart Starr Award to an NFL player who has displayed outstanding character and leadership.

"Our company, Defender, started the challenge locally in 2011 in Indianapolis," said CLO Mike Lantz (pictured). "CEO Dave Lindsey's mission was to revolutionize the workplace by turning a giving company into a 'company of givers.'

Lindsey's goal was to help companies, including his own, bolster their communities all while raising their own morale and results - simply by creating 'a culture of service.' Instead of corporately saying here are the three projects you can serve at, we wanted to empower the individual to harness their team at work and go serve where they are passionate."

This year, over 2,200 teams submitted applications for the Super Service Challenge. Four winners were chosen:

  • Astoria Federal Savings for The INN in New York.
  • Eli Lilly and Company for Keep Indianapolis Beautiful in Indianapolis.
  • Walt Danley Realty for St. Mary's Food Bank in Phoenix.
  • Wells Fargo for Hands-On Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Fla.

Winners were selected by celebrity judges including Drew Brees (quarterback of the New Orleans Saints); former New York Jet Al Toone; and Marie Tillman, chairman of the Pat Tillman Foundation.

Meanwhile, Defender Direct's Mike Lantz can't hide his allegiance for the Broncos as game day nears. "The Denver Broncos will win the Super Bowl this year!" he predicts.

"The Super Service Challenge originated out of Indianapolis. Although Peyton Manning is no longer a Colt, he turned Indianapolis into a football city. The people of Indianapolis will be forever grateful for the incredible memories."

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