June 25, 2008
BOISE, Idaho, June 24, 2008 – NFL running back Warrick Dunn, former NBA big man Vlade Divac and Olympic skier Jimmie Heuga entered the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame on Tuesday at its 14th annual induction ceremonies before 1,150 at the Morrison Center for the Performing Arts in Boise, Idaho.
The Boise Hall annually inducts individuals who are world-class in athletic ability, role models in their community and have a strong record of humanitarian achievements.
The Class of 2008 includes Dunn, 33, a former Florida State Seminole who is entering his 12th NFL season, rejoining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Dunn was honored for his work in assisting single-parents and their children realize the dream of home ownership through the Warrick Dunn Foundation (www.WarrickDunnFoundation.org).
“I’m truly honored to be inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame. I try to follow my works from my mom’s heart and dreams,” said Dunn who started his Homes for the Holidays program in 1997, his rookie season in Tampa, as a way to honor his late mother’s dream of home ownership. The program has helped 78 single-parents and 205 children and dependents in Tampa and Tallahassee, Florida; Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Atlanta, Georgia by providing initial down payment funding and furnishings.
Divac, 40, who won two Olympic medals for his native Yugoslavia and amassed over 13,000 points in 15 years with Los Angeles, Charlotte and Sacramento of the NBA, was heralded for his efforts to assist refugees from war-ravaged Yugoslavia through his Humanitarian Organization Divac (www.Divac.com).
“My country went through tough times, which is why I get involved,” said Divac. “It’s great to be recognized for work done over the last 10 to 15 years and to be an example for those coming behind us.” Divac’s charitable work has provided more than $9 million in humanitarian assistance and educational programs to children in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, the United States, Indonesia, Ethiopia and China. HOD is now focused on improving the circumstances of nearly 7,000 refugees displaced over 15 years ago from war-ravaged Yugoslavia, helping them to realize their right to housing, work, material security and self confidence.
And Heuga, 64, who at the 1964 Innsbruck Olympics brought home the bronze in slalom skiing, becoming one of the first two U.S. skiers to stand on the Olympic podium in the alpine events. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) at the height of his racing career, Heuga channeled his adversity into motivation, revolutionizing the way people live with the disease through the work of his Colorado-based Heuga Center for Multiple Sclerosis (www.Heuga.org). In 2007, The Heuga Center, which is recognized for fiscal responsibility, directly touched more than 6,000 people through education, events and programming in 15 states and 3 Canadian provinces, and globally through the World Wide Web.
“To join the Hall is a great honor for me because it shows my growth as an entire person, not just as an athlete,” said Heuga who was presented for induction by Olympian Billy Kidd, the silver medalist at the Innsbruck Games. “I have always tried to deal with this illness (MS) straight on and be an example to others.”
The Humanitarian Hall of Fame annually inducts individuals who are world-class in athletic ability, role models in their community and have a strong record of humanitarian achievements.
The World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame inductees now represent 12 different sports and support charitable causes in 11 philanthropic categories including Children & Youth, Civil Rights, Education, Health & Disease, Homelessness, Hunger & Poverty, Inner City Revitalization, Overseas Aid, Sports & Recreation, Values in Education, and Women’s Equality in Sport.
About The World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame
The World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame (www.SportsHumanitarian.com), located on the Boise State University campus in Idaho, recognizes individuals and organizations from the world of amateur and professional athletics who, through their humanitarian efforts, distinguish themselves as role models in the community. Forty-one sports-humanitarians have been enshrined in Boise including tennis great Arthur Ashe, Major League Baseball pioneer Jackie Robinson, NFL coaching legend Tom Landry, the NBA’s David Robinson, soccer great Pelé and the Harlem Globetrotters.
The Hall was the inspiration behind Boise’s Humanitarian Bowl and its Humanitarian Awards program annually recognizes exceptional community-focused organizations and leaders from Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, National Football League, National Hockey League, Major League Soccer, NASCAR, NCAA College Football and other organizations. The World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is open weekdays to visitors and humanitarians of all ages.
On induction .
.I am truly honored to accept this award. I want you to be encouraged. Help those who want to help themselves. If
you want to change the world, help someone..
On late mother Betty Smothers. influence-
.I am humble and thankful that I have experienced so much in my life. The opportunity to live out her legacy is
.My mother gave me the foundation for caring about people, my grandmother too. Once my mother died, my
grandmother gave up her life too, to take care of us. If you can save a life or improve a life I would encourage
that. My life has already been blessed, I had the opportunity to play football but most importantly I have had the
opportunity to change family lives. She gave me a foundation of caring about people. I.m happy that I found
something that I was passionate about. That I understood. That I can relate to. Most importantly, I.ve had an
opportunity to change people.s lives..
On Tampa Bay coach Tony Dungy.s influence-
.Coach Tony Dungy challenged all the rookies my rookie year in Tampa Bay; if we were going to live in the
community, what are you going to give back? .Are you going to give back to the community or are you just going
to be another guy on the street?. I chose to give back..
On losing his mother .
.That night my mom lost her life was a life changing experience. That city (Batton Rouge, La.) taught me a lot
about life. Giving back and helping people. I.m definitely humbled, thankful that I.ve experienced a lot of things
and that I tried to turn it to a positive..