Some Ohioans may be sporting Florida caps

Published: Tuesday, January 2, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 1, 2007 at 11:36 p.m.
His gift may be a bit of a Trojan horse, but John Farrell hopes some underprivileged Ohioans will keep warm this winter in ski caps he donated to organizations that serve the needy.
Farrell, vice president of ProGifts in Gainesville, sent 1,000 orange ski caps with the words "Florida Basketball" printed across the front to Columbus, Ohio, homeless shelters and other groups. The donation is cleverly timed to coincide with the University of Florida's football matchup with The Ohio State University Jan. 8 in the Tostitos BCS National Championship game.
Farrell, whose company manufactures and distributes promotional products, ordered the caps years ago to coincide with UF's game against the University of Tennessee. When the caps came back in an orange color that too closely resembled those of UT, UF's athletic association wouldn't allow them to be distributed locally. But the association has now allowed Farrell to distribute the caps outside of Gainesville, which got him thinking of "something clever to do with them."
"What we're imagining is 1,000 needy people walking around Columbus, Ohio, with Gator colors on," he said. "We got rid of the hats, they went to a needy cause and we also got to get a little jab a the Ohio (State) team."
As for the shelters that received the hats, Farrell said the employees took the joke in stride.
"They are laughing hysterically saying they're going to get in all kinds of trouble," he said, "but they're still going to hand them out."
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    Logan Mims and Noor Najafi, both students at Eastside High School, and Jennifer Vettel, who attends Gainesville High School, are among 2,100 high school seniors competing for $3 million in college scholarships that the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation will award in the spring.
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