Allstate Sugar Bowl to recognize selfless standouts at August 4 banquet

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Brittany Grunberg & Joe Este

Local Pair to be Presented with Jimmy Collins Awards at NOLA Hall of Fame Banquet

NEW ORLEANS – Joe Este and Brittany Grunberg, two individuals who have made tremendous efforts to help others, will be presented with Jimmy Collins Awards at the Allstate Sugar Bowl’s Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame Banquet on Saturday, August 4 at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

A total of 23 individuals, including this year’s Hall of Fame class, and three teams will be honored at this year’s banquet. All of the honorees are selected by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, sponsored by the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

While there are many different categories of awards presented by the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee, some years the committee finds that there are people deserving of recognition who do not necessarily fit into one specific category. For that reason, the Committee presents the Jimmy Collins Awards to outstanding individuals and organizations.

Collins was a longtime New Orleans sportswriter who is credited with creating the Greater New Orleans Sports Awards and forming the awards committee in 1958.

This year the Committee chose to recognize two individuals, both of whom are being recognized for their selfless efforts to help others while overcoming tremendous obstacles. They are Brittany Grunberg and Joe Este.

Grunberg was 18 years old and a freshman nursing student at Southeastern Louisiana University when she lost both of her legs after a bout with bacterial meningitis. She had been an active young woman at St. Charles Catholic High School in LaPlace, who enjoyed several sports. Now, she could barely walk on the ill-fitting prosthetics she was forced to use.

Grunberg’s family sought the help of Stan Patterson, the owner of Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates in Orlando, Florida, which specializes in custom-fitted prosthetics for individuals who have lost limbs.

With new, custom legs, Brittany said her life was changed. She attended school in California to get her own certification in Prosthetics, then returned to New Orleans to open her own location of Prosthetic and Orthotic Associates in Metairie. Now she devotes her life to helping Louisiana residents receive their own custom-fitted prosthetics, especially those designed to help patients lead an active lifestyle.

For the past three years, Grunberg has participated in the annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Crescent City Classic, helping to raise money for the 50 Legs Foundation, an organization which helps pay for prosthetics for those who otherwise can’t afford them.

Este is a former Bonnabel High School Bruin with a dream.

A 6-foot, 200-pound strong safety who transferred from Copiah-Lincoln Community College to the University of Tennessee-Martin in 2016. He finished his two-year Division I career with 129 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss, 18 pass breakups and four interceptions. He also was timed at 4.37 seconds in the 40-yard dash.

While pursuing his dream and playing college football, Este also took in his two nephews, Zackary, 7, and Christopher, 6, juggling school, football and being a single parent. A year later, he took in his mom, who had spent the previous two years homeless back in New Orleans.

Now that his college career has ended, Este and his family are still together. He is still working toward his goal of making an NFL roster – he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Tennessee Titans this summer and will enter the preseason in the Titans camp. He also is trying to locate his missing sister so that he can formally adopt his two nephews.

Even if Este doesn’t get that golden contract, however, he has another dream. He plans to register for grad school and then to medical school to become a pediatrician.

The Greater New Orleans Sports Awards Committee began in 1957 when James Collins spearheaded a group of sports journalists to form a sports awards committee to immortalize local sports history. For 13 years, the committee honored local athletes each month. In 1970, the Sugar Bowl stepped in to sponsor and revitalize the committee, leading to the creation of the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame in 1971, honoring 10 legends from the Crescent City in its first induction class. While adding the responsibility of selecting Hall of Famers, the committee has continued to recognize the top amateur athlete in the Greater New Orleans area each month – the honors enter their 62nd year in 2018. To be eligible, an athlete must be a native of the greater New Orleans area or must compete for a team in the metropolitan region.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl has established itself as one of the premier college football bowl games, having hosted 28 national champions, 93 Hall of Fame players, 49 Hall of Fame coaches and 18 Heisman Trophy winners in its 84-year history. The 85th Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic, featuring top teams from the Big 12 and the SEC, will be played on January 1, 2019. In addition to football, the Sugar Bowl Committee annually invests over $1.6 million into the community through the hosting and sponsorship of sporting events, awards and clinics. Through these efforts, the organization supports and honors nearly 100,000 student-athletes each year, while injecting over $2.5 billion into the local economy in the last decade. For more information, visit

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