Blake Wiehe: A jack-of-all-trades
July 1, 2011
Blake Wiehe is preparing for his final hurrah. With his senior year around the corner, the wide receiver and safety on the Park City High School football team decided he wanted to make an impression in the community just as much as on the football field.
He wanted to make a difference and help raise money for a humanitarian trip to Peru, sponsored by the National Honor Society and the Park City 5 Foundation. The trip was organized to lay the foundations for and build schools in the town of Amaru, Peru.
The 17-year-old Wiehe and friend Andrew Method realized that for the venture to Peru to take place, they had to raise some more money. Wiehe said most of the 31 students from Park City High didn’t have enough money for the essentials on the trip.
"We thought, ‘Maybe we could talk to a fast-food place?’" Wiehe said. "The first place we went to is Burger King and they told us about fundraiser they do, which entails a great deal for coupon books. So we started to sell the coupon books around town.
"We started to do that and thought, ‘we’ll probably raise a couple hundred bucks.’ Over the next three months, we raised $4,000."
Wiehe said nearly $1,500 went to humanitarian supplies for the trip and the remaining funds went to scholarships for students.
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"It’s all about giving back," said Blake’s father, Les Wiehe. "I think he sees that and has taken the lead."
Blake, who also sports a 4.1 GPA, was rewarded for his philanthropic efforts with a $500 scholarship for community service.
The elder Wiehe went on to say that volunteering is something the family has stressed since day one. Les Wiehe used to be the president of the Young Riders mountain bike program, a program in which Blake still participates and coaches.
The group spent 10 days in Peru, having just returned June 27; a trip that Blake Wiehe said was a life-changing experience. It was the farthest he’s ever traveled.
When the group arrived in Amaru, the foundation of the school the group was assigned to build on hadn’t been laid yet, so rather than building from the ground up, the crew helped construct the base.
He said the locals had done foundation work before.
"They kind of had the blueprint for us," he said.
The group used adobe bricks and mud rather than cement and dug trenches around the foundation, he said.
Wiehe said another organization will arrive in the town in two weeks to finish the construction of the school.
While the work was rewarding, he said, hanging out each day with the locals was a highlight.
"There were three people to a house, and we just stayed in locals’ houses," he said. "They’d cook us breakfast, lunch and dinner."
The group was also able to hike Machu Picchu.
Wiehe spoke to The Park Record Wednesday afternoon from the trainer’s room at Park City High School. He said the team had just finished a rigorous running and conditioning exercise.
"It’s been going great," he said of offseason workouts. "We just got done with the hardest day of the year. We did some sprint intervals up the ‘PC’ hill. We’ll probably be going up to Main Street soon."
"He’s got a really good moral compass," said Kai Smalley, Park City’s head coach. "To keep his grades up and to be involved like he does, you can point to other players struggling and say, ‘See, it can be done.’"
Les Wiehe said this year’s team has 25 to 30 seniors, compared to most years when it ranges from 10 to 15. Les Wiehe has been coaching this group of kids since they were 8 years old and said they know what’s on the horizon for them.
"(Blake’s) got a sense of urgency. All these kids do," he said. "This group coming to be seniors, they’ve had some pretty good success. It’s a real talented group. They’ve been planning ahead for their senior year for the last 10 years or so."
The season now sits only two months away, and Blake Wiehe is ready to focus on football.
"It’s crazy, it came up so fast," he said. "You always hear that your senior year comes so fast. But we’re getting it. You get a whole different sense of leadership. We know we have a legitimate chance this year."
Added Smalley: "One thing that stands out about Blake: The other day he twisted his ankle in practice and instead of sitting out and watching, he started doing coaching and helped run drills.
"That’s what’s going to get him on the field for us this year."