“It seems like everywhere I go – whether it’s BYU or the Church – everyone is an Eagle Scout except for me. One day I hope to become an honorary Eagle Scout,” said Sitake.
He next spoke of his humble beginnings starting in Tonga for the first month and a half of his life. His family immigrated to Hawaii shortly after.
“I’m the product of a lot of hard work and sacrifice from mothers. I have had great leaders and mentors in my life that helped lead me along the way.”
Because of his family’s many sacrifices, he was able to grow up in the United States and accomplish some incredible things.
A Small Act of Service
At the tender age of six, his parents divorced, leaving him with crippling emotional wounds that wouldn’t heal for years. After three years and over six moves, his family finally settled down in Orem, UT.
Unfortunately, the emotional scarring was still there, but little did he know that the healing process was about to be jumpstarted.
“When I was nine years old The BYU football players came to our elementary school for an assembly and recess. They had just won the National Championship a year prior. Back then I didn’t really care to play in recess because I was broken. I was just content with watching everyone play dodgeball and tetherball. One player saw me on the side. He came and sat next to me and gave me a minute of his time. It changed my life. I was amazed that this player was even sitting next to me. At the end, he leaned over and gave me a hug. He told me, ‘everything is going to be fine and God loves you.’ In that moment, I decided I was going to play football for BYU. I had thousands of people tell me that everything was going to be fine over and over again, but this was the first time I believed it – from a stranger. I thank him for being open to serve others in need because that set me on a totally different path.”
Because of the small act of a former BYU football player, Sitake was set on a trajectory that led him to play football for BYU and serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. In 2000 he was named the MVP Running Back for the Cougars.
Fifteen years later, after serving as a coach at Eastern Arizona College, Southern Utah University, University of Utah and Oregon State, he succeeded Bronco Mendenhall as BYU’s Head Football Coach.
One small act of service to another member of the community – that’s all it takes to change a life. It’s what the Boy Scouts of America is all about, serving others in the community. And the principles of Scouting go hand-in-hand in everyday life.
“I’m really impressed with the Scout Oath because not only is it in line with what we teach in the gospel but for me as a football coach. Doing our duty to God and our Nation applies to how we play and how we honor ourselves.”
Sitake concluded his speech by thanking all of the Outstanding and Distinguished Eagle honorees for their example and service.
“I’m in a room now with a bunch of people who are all about serving others. We can fix so many things just by being open and helping others. Even for someone to recognize another person going through a hard time. You don’t realize how much power you have. In a time where everyone is buried in their screens, eye contact, a handshake or a hug can really change someone’s life. A hug changed my life and it fixed me when I was broken.”
Want to see Cougar football in action? Get discounted tickets for the Cougars’ home game November 18, 2017. Anyone who loves Scouting can get BYU Football vs. UMass tickets for $15.00 (regularly @ $35). With every ticket purchased using promo code BYUBSA, BYU will donate $2.50 to help support Scouting in the Utah National Parks Council.
Author: Kimball Vaughn | PR Marketing Associate, Utah National Parks Council I’m a Super Super Senior studying PR at BYU. During my first five years at BYU, I’ve been an avid exercise enthusiast, chef, and adventurer.