One of the most important aspects of the mission statement of St. Vincent de Paul is to provide others with an opportunity to serve. I am reminded of that credo everyday thanks to the thousands of individuals who chose to volunteer their time with us. But I am still amazed at the unwavering dedication of one individual who started out as an athletic role model to me as a child, and eventually grew to be a very dear friend. Nick Lowery is truly a living example of our mission statement.
I remember as a young man watching Nick in the NFL and admiring him as one of the greatest kickers of all-time. There was no question that he had a true gift of athleticism. All the fame and fortune from his days of pro-football would be enough for anyone to retire comfortably and spend their remaining days doing commercials for product endorsements. But Nick isn’t your typical athlete, and I am not talking about the fact that he was recently elected as a member of the Kansas City Chiefs Hall of Fame, or that he attended both Dartmouth and Harvard. Not only did he want to give back to the community, but he also wanted to rally his fellow star athletes and provide them with the opportunity to get involved in public service as well. A very noble feat, and you certainly can’t get more “Vincentian” than that.
For years I’ve watched Nick engross himself in every aspect of St. Vincent de Paul and act as a bridge between our organization and retired athletes. Whether he’s encouraging our guests to “Never Give Up,” serving food at one of our dining rooms, participating in a volunteer event or even digging into his own pockets, Nick has contributed to the homeless and working poor one way or another. I truly admire his sense of obligation to the community and tireless effort to get the word out about St. Vincent de Paul. Every time I walk through our downtown dining room and see the beautiful print of a LeRoy Neiman painting of Nick in his Kansas City Chief’s uniform (the only painting that Mr. Neiman did of a kicker) I see not only a great athlete, I see the portrait of a great man. I thank you, Nick, from the bottom of my heart for your generous heart and spirit.
It’s my pleasure to share with you a special video Nick put together about St. Vincent de Paul and the importance of philanthropy. You may recognize the familiar Valley faces of James Quiñones of 12 News and Javier Soto of 3TV News! We thank you both for being involved in Champions for the Homeless. Enjoy and God bless.