Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE: Edition 9

The mission of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is to Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values, Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE. Each Friday, features stories from the football world and beyond that illustrate the celebration of excellence!

Archived Editions:
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Defying Odds

University of Michigan freshman basketball guard Austin Hatch has experienced much tragedy throughout his life. Hatch survived two plane crashes that killed his entire family. The second accident left him in a coma for two months. After waking up, he had to relearn how to walk, talk and function again. Basketball seemed like an afterthought.

So, when the freshman stepped on the court during an exhibition game against Wayne State University, it was emotional. Then something even more amazing happen. Hatch scored his only point of the game when he drained a free throw after getting fouled.

See Hatch’s emotional reaction after sinking his free throw.

Watch his entire story:

Dent Elected to Black College Football HOF

The accolades continue to mound for Gold Jacket and Class of 2011 enshrinee Richard Dent. Dent was recently elected to the Black College Football Hall of Fame. The Black College Football Hall of Fame honors the greatest football players and coaches from historically black colleges and universities.

Dent will be joined by four other players and one coach. They include Roger Brown, Ernie Ladd, Ken Riley, Donnie Shell and coach W.C. Gorden. The induction ceremony will take place on Feb. 28, 2015 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.

Jets Owner Participates in Boys and Girls Club Groundbreaking

New York Jets owner Woody Johnson, along with his mother, Betty Wold Johnson, represented the Snowflake Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Charitable Trust at the groundbreaking for a new Boys & Girls Club of Mercer County in Lawrence Township, New Jersey. A $500,000 gift to fund the Johnson Teen Center in the new community center was the single largest project funded through the Snowflake Foundation, established in February by the host committee of the 2014 New York/New Jersey Super Bowl.

Scheduled to open in September 2015, the building will feature a gymnasium, teen and technology centers, a game room, teaching kitchen and café, and numerous adaptable classrooms. The new Boys & Girls club will make the organization’s award-winning programs available to more than 2,000 additional young people and double the number of teens enrolled in its college and career preparation programs. In addition, the Club plans to introduce a host of vocational and technical career tracks for non college-bound teens.

Barwin Making the World Better

Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Connor Barwin is having success on the field and is making a difference off of it as well. He started the Make The World Better Foundation that is “dedicated to enriching the lives of our youth by providing safe and fun areas for artistic and athletic enjoyment.”

He is also raising awareness for children with hearing problems. Barwin was born deaf, but after a number of surgeries as a child his hearing was corrected. He is able to hear out of his right ear but only has 10-15 percent of his hearing in the left.

“I never really talked about it because I felt like I was very lucky,” said Barwin recently. “There are a lot of people who are born deaf who are still deaf. I can say I was born deaf, they put tubes in my ears and I got my hearing back. I had to go through a lot of major surgeries, but I was a kid. I didn’t know any better. It really was never a problem, at least the way I look at it. I didn’t want to talk about it because to talk to people who didn’t get their hearing back, I always felt that I wasn’t much of an example. I was very lucky.”

Kelce Hosts Surprise Party for USO Families

Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce and Dietz & Watson Company showed their appreciation last week for military families by preparing dinner at the Horsham Air Guard Station.

The real surprise came when recently deployed service members greeted their families shortly before the meal.

“Tonight’s dinner is what family is all about,” said Kelce. “Just being able to take a step back and watch these brave military members share a meal with their families once again was probably one of the most humbling things I’ve ever been a part of. Nothing but smiles from table to table. I’d like to thank Dietz & Watson – an extension of our Eagles family – for putting so much time and effort into this unforgettable night.”

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