PHILADELPHIA — He grew up in the scenic city of Newburyport, Mass., but it wasn’t until Jeffrey Reppucci relocated to Worcester to begin his career at Holy Cross that he found his calling.
Reppucci, a senior who served as student assistant coach on the Crusaders hockey team in 2013-14 after an injury prevented him from playing, was named the recipient of the Hockey Humanitarian Award Thursday. The honor is presented annually by the HHA Foundation to college hockey’s finest citizen.
Reppucci’s résumé of good deeds is as vast as it is impressive.
He is founder and president of the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization Students Helping Children Across Borders, which has designed and implemented $125,000 worth of infrastructural improvements and community programming in five countries.
He is also the founder of Working For Worcester, which mobilized 540 college students from seven Worcester-area schools to construct more than $62,000 in infrastructural improvements at 12 of the city’s recreational spaces.
This year, the project has grown substantially. On Saturday, even more student volunteers will participate.
“It’s our annual service day for the Working For Worcester project,’’ said Reppucci, a Russian studies major. “It’s a city-wide community action day. It’s totally inspired and run and championed by college students.
“Basically, what we do is we go around the city with a whole bunch of bodies to all these different community sites such as schoolyards and youth centers, homeless shelters, all sorts of places that are serving kids and families. We try to really make infrastructural improvements to different pieces of recreational equipment and recreational spaces in the spirit of promoting wellness.
“This is our second year; last year we had a very successful project. This year, we’re preparing for 1,200 volunteers from a variety of our sponsoring companies and the bulk of them are students from 10 universities through the city of Worcester coming together to work on 20 sites.’’
This year, Reppucci said, they have $100,000 with which to work.
“It’s our Super Bowl, so to speak,’’ he said. “It’s our big day.’’
When asked what sparked his passion for community service, Reppucci said he was inspired by the atmosphere both at the school and in the surrounding area.
“It’s really something that has developed over the last four years,’’ said Reppucci, a 2013 Truman Scholar and 2013 Rhodes Scholarship finalist. “The biggest influences in my life have been Holy Cross and the city of Worcester.
“I got here and found the most incredible community-minded people, amazing neighborhoods full of diversity, culture, a great amount of history and a real pride among the people in the city. It has just exploded and it’s become the most exciting and most fulfilling part of my life so far. I’m just so proud to be a a part of this city.’’
His deeds came as no surprise to coach Paul Pearl.
“Jeff is a remarkable young man who will do great things his entire life,’’ said Pearl. “He is the embodiment of what we want a Holy Cross hockey player to be.’’
Nancy Marrapese-Burrell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @Elle1027.