Sam Hoopes was overwhelmed when he was honored by Dreams in Motion on Wednesday afternoon during an assembly at Duchesne High School.
Hoopes is a counselor and basketball coach at Duchesne. He received a liver transplant on May 12, 2020.
His liver donor was from his best friend, Derek Herrera.
DiM’s co-founder Joel Brown explained the non-profit organization specializes in honoring people who have gone through health challenges and difficult times in their life while being involved in their community.
Hoopes is the first person from Utah that DiM has honored. The organization was formed last year and is based in Utah and Wyoming.
The goal for DiM is to provide the people they honor a first-class sporting event to attend in person.
“We wanted to thank Sam for his courage and ability to overcome difficult challenges in his life,” Brown said.
DiM’s board member Sidney Smith, who is a store manager/customer service supervisor at STRATA Networks, presented Hoopes with four Utah Jazz tickets to the April 15 game with the Washington Wizards.
“I don’t know Sam personally but hearing his story is absolutely amazing,” Smith said. “People from STRATA Networks wanted to give you something to have some fun.”
Hoopes and his family will also have a free night stay at the Marriott Hotel that was lined up by DiM’s board member John Olsen.
“I played a lot of sports when I was growing up but there is another message that you need to know,” Hoopes said. “You need to know that true heroes aren’t guys that have something happen to you but true heroes are the ones that want to help people out.”
DiM’s co-founder Bruce Tippets said his organization first found out about Hoopes when he read a story called “Duchesne coach receives the gift of life from his best friend,” published Feb. 15 on UBMedia.biz.
Tippets had the opportunity to meet Hoopes in person a couple of months ago when he was covering the Duchesne girls and boys state basketball games.
He didn’t bring up DiM but just wanted to find out what Hoopes was like. After the conversation Tippets knew Hoopes would be the perfect person for DiM to honor.
Chelsea Hoopes, who is Sam Hoopes’ wife, wanted to thank the students and the teachers at Duchesne High School for everything they have done for the family.
“We all know that Sam is a great guy and he puts his heart into the school,” Chelsea Hoopes said. “We are grateful for the community and for DiM for having us here.”
During the assembly the non-profit organization also shared three videos from board members U.S. Congressman Blake Moore, from Utah’s First District, Jon Oglesby, Utah High School Activities Association assistant director, and Kera Birkeland, Utah State House of Representatives, congratulating Sam Hoopes on the award.
DiM wanted to thank Billy Hoopes for helping with the assembly at Duchesne.
When the assembly was finished Sam Hoopes received a standing ovation from the students and teachers in attendance.