John Elway: Great Football Player; Great Humanitarian

John Elway is the only quarterback in the history of the NFL to start in five Super Bowls, as his team, the Denver Broncos lost the first three, but he led the Broncos to championships in his last two seasons. He was the only player to be named MVP of a Super Bowl in his last game as a player. He set the record for fourth quarter comebacks, with 47. Elway was elected to nine Pro Bowls, was MVP of the NFL in 1987, and passed for more than 51,000 yards, more than any other player other than Dan Marino, who passed for almost 10,000 more. He set the record for quarterbacks, leading his team to 148 wins during a 16 year career.

John Elway’s accomplishments as a football player are legendary. His accomplishments as a humanitarian are less well known. Elway was chosen as the Man of the Year in 1992, and the award not only is given for athletic accomplishments, but also for community involvement.

The John Elway Heroes Foundation was formed to provide support and funding to America’s heroes and their families. The goal of the foundation is to encourage pride in heroes, who exist everywhere, and assist heroes, past and present, who improve society and defend our country’s freedom. The foundation funds numerous programs and recognizes sacrifices people make to keep America great.

The John Elway Heroes Foundation is far from being Elway’s only involvement in the lives of people, however. Elway was active in the Denver community since his rookie year. In 1987 the Elway Foundation was formed to join with community efforts to help fight the crime of child abuse. Elway knew that child abuse was growing in America and was affecting an increasing number of people. He wanted to use the Elway Foundation’s funds in the treatment and prevention of child abuse. Elway wanted to prevent people from becoming the future victim of child abuse.

Elway and the Elway Foundation annually host The Elway Golf Classic in the summer, and the event is one of the most popular golf classics in Denver. The event is part of the Celebrities Pro Tour and takes place over four days. More than $3 million has been donated since the start of the tournament. Money generated by the tournament is divided equally between the Kempe Children’s Center and the Family Advocacy Care and Support (F.A.C.E.S). Each agency is well known for successfully fighting and preventing child abuse.

Participants in the tournament, besides Elway, have included Michael Jordan, Dan Marino, Gary Carter, Ivan Lendl, Jerry Lucas, and others.

The Kempe Center is known throughout the world for research into the causes, treatment, and prevention of child abuse. Teachers, social workers, parents, and doctors have better able to recognize and treat child abuse because of the training materials published by the center. Their famous innovative program, ReCAP, helps children who have been abused by a non-family member be treated. Medical diagnosis and treatment of child abuse is made available by the Kempe Child Advocacy and Prevention Team. An on-site therapeutic pre-school for children with developmental delays and psychological problems is also operated by the Kempe Center.

Direct prevention and treatment services are provided by Parent Aides and Parent Consultation programs provided by F.A.C.E.S. Volunteers are trained as parent aides, who then provide home visitation to teach parent skills, reduce isolation, build self esteem, and promote a healthy relationship between children and their parents. Consultations are specifically for parents who have concern about rearing and child development.

A help line is also operated to refer callers to other resources. Healthy relationships are promoted at interactive workshops for families, children, and schools. Nurses, child care workers, others in contact with children, and teachers also receive training.

John Elway, the football player, will not be forgotten for a long time by sports fans in and out of Denver. John Elway, the humanitarian, will not be forgotten by a lot of people he has helped.

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