Spending time in the military and being stationed overseas can be beneficial. Not only do you get the opportunity to see the sight, experience a place you may never, otherwise have an opportunity to experience, meet new people, and for better or worse, get to know the customs and the culture.
I had been lucky to travel many places at the behest of Uncle Sam. My first trip overseas, sent me for a year to an Air Force base in South Korea from 1982 through 83. During this time, along with the shopping, the partying, the sight-seeing and just hanging out (not to mention working), I also volunteered my time to help at a nearby orphanage. This orphanage didn’t accept just any child, it was an orphanage for Amer-asian children. Children often born from American fathers and unwed Korean mothers. At the time, life wasn’t easy for multi-racial Korean children and a lot of the children in this orphanage, were given up by their mothers and almost hidden from society. The prejudice against these children was extremely strong at the time.
It had been a little more then 20 years later, when I kept up with the news on Hines Ward’s travels to Korea and had seen, not much had changed in those 20 years. After winning the Superbowl, and using the prestige of being the first Korean-American to win the Superbowl to try to bring about a change in the culture status of multiracial children in Korea. In 2006, Ward would create the “Helping Hands Foundation” to help try to eliminate the discrimination that has for so long been so strong in that country.
In 2007, the Steelers would vote him to be their Walter Payton Man of the Year, for not only his achievements on the field in football, but also his contribution to the community. Ward would end up being one of the final three men in the standings for the NFLs Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, along with Jason Whitten of the Dallas Cowboys and Jason Taylor, then with the Miami Dolphins. Taylor would be recipient of the award in February 2008.
Once again, according to the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Hines Ward has been selected as the Steelers 2008 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. Ward leads the team with 54 receptions, 718 receiving yards and 5 touchdowns. His work with the “Helping Hands Foundation” continues, not only with his trips to South Korea to continue to keep the dialogue open, but also with hosting weekend visits from those children he’s trying to help.
Ward will join 31 other team Walter Payton Man of the Year recipients, where, during the Superbowl, one will be recognized as the NFLs Walter Payton Man of the Year.
Congratulations to Ward for the team recognition, and to all players who’ve received their respective teams recognition for their contributions both on and off th