2014 Arch Awards: St. Louis Community MVPs

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Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

David Backes: Though St. Louis Blues forward David Backes is an extremely intimidating force on the ice who is known for running through his opponents, he’s one of the most generous athletes off the ice through his community initiatives.

Along with his wife, Kelly, Backes started the “Athletes for Animals” foundation, which is dedicated to the promotion of pet adoption and education about responsible pet ownership.  He’s partnered with teammate Barret Jackman, Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis, and St. Louis-born MLB pitchers Mark Buehrle, among numerous other pro athletes, to help bring awareness to the cause.

In addition to operating their charity, David and Kelly also work closely with the Five Acres Animal Shelter in St. Charles and help out with their adoption efforts. After David completed his run with the U.S. Olympic hockey team in Sochi, Russia this past February, the couple brought home two stray dogs, named Sochi Jake and Sochi Junior, who were cared for at Five Acres. Sochi Junior was later adopted out to the parents of Blues teammate Kevin Shattenkirk, while Sochi Jake was adopted by fellow U.S. Olympian Derek Stepan.

In addition to his animal work, Backes has gone on visits to children’s hospitals with his Blues teammates and participated in the annual Blues 14 Fund Golf Classic. As well as being the Blues’ captain on the ice, Backes is a captain of the community, and he deserves to be recognized.