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Twins' Gibson, Vikings' Sullivan host events to spread Thanksgiving cheer

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There have been too many stories about the transgressions of professional and college athletes this year.

This one, though, focuses on what athletes from two of Minnesota's local teams are doing to help the less fortunate enjoy a happy Thanksgiving.

Twins pitcher Kyle Gibson was looking for a way to give back after plans for a trip to Africa during the offseason fell through.

According to the Ft. Myers News-Press, Gibson and his family Tuesday prepared a Thanksgiving Day feast for those less fortunate.

"My wife and I, Elizabeth, we wanted to get more involved in the community," said Gibson. "We wanted to do something around Thanksgiving with the food kitchen."

Gibson, 27, was 13-12 for the Twins last year with a 4.47 ERA and 107 strikeouts in 179 innings last season.

Tracey Galloway, the chief executive officer of Community Cooperative, which hosted the meal, said having Gibson get involved made a big difference.

"It's just great to have Kyle coming in here," said Galloway. "To have someone like Kyle, it helps raise awareness, and it helps bring in other volunteers and funds."

But Gibson isn't the only professional athlete from Minnesota to get involved in helping others enjoy the holiday.

Several members of the Vikings spent their off-day Tuesday sharing a Thanksgiving meal with children battling a host of illnesses, and their families, at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.

The event was led by Vikings center John Sullivan, but several others attended including Brandon Fusco, Mike Harris, Ismae Faciane, Donte Foster and Ryan Otten. Former Vikings Walker Lee Ashley, Matt Blair, Tyrone Carter and Stu Voigt also attended.

Sullivan, the Vikings 2013 Man of the Year, began his relationship with the hospital as a rookie and has attended and volunteered at several events there. He said seeing the kids provides some needed perspective.

"It just makes you focus on what's important in life. Obviously our work is important. We care a lot about what we do as football players and winning games, but when you understand that there's things along the lines of pediatric illness going on in the world, it helps keep you grounded and helps you realize that life is about more than winning football games and making money. It's about making sure you leave the world a better place than you found it."

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