It’s great when deserving people are recognized for how they are making a difference. Our Cincinnati Bengals linebacker
Vincent Rey and defensive end Michael Johnson quietly do so much for our community. Recently they were honored by the NFL Players Association with the highest honor the NFLPA can bestow on a player – the Byron ‘Whizzer’ White Award.
The Award recognizes players who go above and beyond to perform community service, and the honorees receive a monetary donation for their foundation or a charity of their choice.
“As an NFL football player, you have a lot of people that look up to you. And if there’s anything I can say or do that will encourage anyone, then I’ll gladly do it,” Vincent told Dhani Jones for SB Nation.
Last fall Mike and Vincent stopped by Beechgrove Elementary to encourage students to go after their dreams, show kindness and do good every day. You know I like that!
“Always do your best. Give it everything you’ve got to get the job done,” Mike told them. “Take advantage of every day. Take advantage of every opportunity.”
There are people in this world who brighten a day just by being in it. Jade West is one of those people. She’s heard around the Tri-State on 101.1 FM The Wiz and where ever I’ve seen her, young people gather round.
Jade is just that way. She has a magnetism about her that evokes a smile from everyone with whom she comes into contact. Her caring about others is truly genuine, as is her love for life.
Last month I was organizing a ‘Downtown Hoedown’ clogging competition on Ft. Square and the lack of parking got in her way of making it on time to compete (something to take into consideration next year because she’s definitely going to be asked again!), but she arrived in her usual happy spirit.
“You know, I would have won this if I had gotten there on time,” she said to me after our hug. She stayed around until almost everyone was gone…except the students by her side. I just love her positive attitude.
Through my work with the YMCA, Jade has been a part of a number of events that reach out to teens. She’s of course top on my list to get involved because I know the positive impact she has on others – including myself – and, as long as she’s available, she has a heart that always wants her to participate.
So it didn’t surprise me one bit when Jade told me a few weeks back that she’d been training to walk more than 100 miles to support her friend, Senator Eric Kearney, in raising awareness about childhood obesity issues.
“I’ve done plenty of walks for other causes but nothing like this,” she told me before their journey. “When I got hip to what it was all about and that Eric was behind it, I knew it was something I wanted to do. I love kids and was all for it.”
I think that conversation was the only time I’ve heard her doubt herself when she was wondering if she’d make it. I had no doubt at all. And, you know what, they made their distance ahead of schedule…in typical Jade style.
If you call Jade at The Wiz and get her voice mail, you’ll hear at the end her parting words of wisdom…”A simple act of kindness can change the course of a lifetime.”
Yes Jade, they absolutely can! Thanks for being you.
(Photo is Jade West and Cincinnati Bengals’ mascot Who Dey at the Downtown Hoedown)