Zack Williams, making Happy Valley happier, one hug at a time

Nittany Nation

(WTAJ) — Sometimes all you need is a warm embrace. Zack Williams is by far one of the happiest guys in happy valley but he’s also one of Penn State football’s secret weapons.

Zack was a part of Lifelink PSU, a program for students with intellectual disabilities when he told his mentor and mother, Susie, that his dream was to work with the Penn State football team.

Zack made his dream come true.

Zack’s father, John said four years ago, they ran into Coach James Franklin at a Sheetz. John told Zack and his brother to go over and say hello and when they did Zack gave Coach a big hug. After pumping his gas, Coach Franklin got into his car, drove over to Zack and his family, got out of the car and said thank you to Zack because he was having a rough day and Zack’s hug made his day a lot better.

In 2017, while Zack was on campus, him and his mentor Kacie Hay, saw defensive end Torrence Brown on campus after he suffered a serious knee injury. Zack was holding a bag of cookies and walked up to Torrence and gave him the cookies. The pictures of this encounter went viral, making everyone aware of Zack’s positive attitude.

Then, Zack ran into Coach Franklin again at the HUB. Zack said Coach Franklin asked him two things, if he wanted a free Jamba Juice in which Zack replied, heck yeah! And, coach asked if he wanted to attend the team’s practice.

Now at 23-years-old, Zack still helps out at practices and balances two other jobs. He works at Good Day Café in State College and at Weiss.

Our Nittany Nation crew met Zack at the whiteout game this year. Sports director Peter Terpstra said he was having a bad day and saw Zack on the sidelines. Suddenly, Peter was embraced with a big hug from Zack. Peter said it made his day and it was a moment he would never forget.

So if you’re ever looking or a warm embrace, find Zack.

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February 07 2021 06:30 pm

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