Blue and Gold Illustrated

Nov. 27, 2021

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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16 NOV. 27, 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED BY TYLER HORKA C ole Capen pulled up in a red Ford two-door truck. He had a few dozen boxes of Thanksgiving food fit to feed entire families loaded in the bed. When he walked into the For Families of Active Military warehouse near his hometown of Yorba Linda, Calif., he saw roughly five times as many boxes as he was set to bring through the doors. "I remember thinking how amazing it was that all of these people in our com- munity reached out to help to feed this many military families," Capen, a walk- on Notre Dame quarterback, told Blue & Gold Illustrated. "It made me feel reaf- firmed in my community." More than 300 families stationed at Fort Irwin and Camp Pendleton enjoyed a Thanksgiving feast thanks to Capen and company that year. For Families of Active Military is an organization that has been feeding those whose loved ones serve in branches of the United States military since 2006. That's when Ed and Bridget Blehm founded the orga- nization with the slogan: "Standing Up for Those Who Stand Up For Us." Capen has volunteered with For Fami- lies of Active Military since 2016. He was a junior in high school then. He's a senior at Notre Dame now, and he's still active in assisting the organization from more than 2,000 miles away as a student-ath- lete in South Bend. Just last year he was the youngest person ever appointed to the organization's board of advisors. Blehm couldn't have seen that com- ing a few years ago when Capen gradu- ated from high school and was ready to enroll at Notre Dame. She figured Capen's time with For Families of Active Military had run its course. She was wrong, and she couldn't have been happier for that to be the case. "The young man is absolutely as- tounding to me," Blehm, a Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army, told BGI. "Our prerequisite is having passion for military families. It's not about being a showboat. It's about doing the work for them. They are the center. Not what we do. Cole embodies every bit of that." Capen's mother, Heidi Capen, has long been involved in serving the Yorba Linda community as a part of National Charity League. She has worked with GIVING THANKS Even at Notre Dame, senior walk-on quarterback Cole Capen continues to actively support U.S. military families in his California community

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