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Courtney Martinez and Austin Vaughn | NCAA.com | December 27, 2015

Minnesota punter Peter Mortell raises almost $25K for local children's hospital

Last season, Minnesota punter Peter Mortell wanted to do something generous for the holidays.

During the Gophers' trip to the 2014 Citrus Bowl, Mortell spent his $452 Best Buy gift card the team received on gifts for the St. Joseph's Home for Children, a local charity in Minneapolis.

But this year, Mortell wanted to take his donation efforts to the next level. So, he launched a fundraiser through the university's foundation to raise $10,000 for teenaged patients at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital.

"All of the people who showed their support helped me realize how willing to give our community truly is.  It got me thinking -- how can we do something bigger and better this year?," Mortell said on the crowdfund site.

It took only 12 hours for Mortell to reach his initial goal, so he raised the total to $25,000. As of Monday morning, the punter is inching closer to the target with more than $21,000 donated to the cause.

"Many times, people generously donate gifts for younger kids and children. As amazing as this is, often the demographic of teenage patients gets overlooked- but not this year," Mortell said. "My goal is to raise money so that we can purchase gifts that not only current patients at the hospital can use, but future patients as well."

Mortell plans once again to donate his gift card from Minnesota's trip to Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 28 but hopes to get his teammates involved too.

And, Mortell's teammates aren't the only players he's inspired.

Michigan Wolverines kicker Kenny Allen used his gift card from the Citrus Bowl to purchase headphones and iTunes gift cards for children in need.

Allen even sent a shoutout to Mortell on Twitter for being an inspiration.

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