This week marks – what I believe is – the eighth annual Hope Week.
During Hope Week the Yankees have many of their players attend many wonderful charitable causes for the underprivileged. Thru the years, there have been some great stories that would make people proud of the love and care the Yankee organization has shown the great city of New York.
Hope Week is the brainchild of Yankees P.R. Director Jason Zillo. He has come up with some great stories of people in all sorts of life turmoils, and with the help of the players, has helped make there lives better.
This seems to be a page right out of the George Steinbrenner play book, because The Boss believed that every day was hope week. Steinbrenner was attending a funeral for a slain police officer in New York City. He stared at the widow and then he got extremely sad when he saw the children. He turned to his dear friend and business associate Jim Fuchs, the great Olympic shot put champion, and said we have to do some about this.
This is how the Silver Shield was formed. In Tampa they have the Gold Shield. These foundations help the children of police officers and fire fighters killed in the line of duty, with their education. Thank God for these foundations because, unfortunately, many of these civil servants have lost their lives and many of these kids received an education thanks to the help of the Silver and Gold Shield.
When it came to the truly less privileged, people close to The Boss knew that he had a very soft place in his heart for them. Whenever he did something nice, we were never allowed to talk about it. I remember one time I drove to Miami with him from Fort Lauderdale and he helped out a poor family that was in trouble financially. He had known the man from one of his schools. This was back in the 1970s, so I can’t quite remember the details except that the wife was so happy that they were not going to lose their home. The thing that I found so beautiful was that they were a black family. At this stage in my life, it showed me that blacks and whites could really help each other. For me, it was a very important lesson in my life at that time. On our drive back I mentioned how happy he made them and he made me promise not to mention this to anyone.
This was not the only time I saw him do something like this and then make me swear not to mention it to anyone.
Another time, he was coming out of a medical building on Martin Luther King Blvd. in Tampa and he passed a lady with a kid with that I believe had M.S. She had a really beat up van that was suppose to transport the kid around. The Boss wrote down the license plate number and found out about the lady with her family. He called the local Ford dealer that he knew and had a special van made for the lady so that life would be a little better for their family. Oh, and I swore not to tell anyone. There were so many stories and I guess that’s why I will always be so proud to of worked with him in such a close capacity.
I also know that he is looking down at his kids and people in the organization and is very proud of the things he used to do in a very quite and private way is being done in a very beautiful and prideful way.
I used to say to The Boss that when people see all the good things that you do they will want to do the same thing, especially the truly influential people of this country. He use to tell me that you don’t have to be rich to be able to help thy fellow man. You just have care. He was always right about that.
Congratulations to Jason Zillo and the organization for this wonderful week ahead.
All players that participate in Hope Week always become better people because they never forget they can do great things off the field too.
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