[Note by River City Rage, 05/23/08 3:11 AM EDT ] Clodknocker was a participiant in the recent Wuerffel Benefit Luncheon at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. He was kind enough to write his observation and thoughts on the event for us. On behalf of everyone at Big Cat Country, thank you for writing this!
The Luncheon was held at the Touchdown Club at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on Thursday May 15th. Former Quarterback Danny Wuerffel was humble, yet well-armed to reveal his strengths on the football field that made him a Heisman Tropy winner after leading the Florida Gators to four straight Southeastern Conference Championships, and defeating the Florida State Seminoles in the Sugar Bowl for the consensus National Championship. He had a supporting cast of former standout Gators present; Kerwin Bell, Chris Doering, and Shane Matthews. Former Gators and present Jaguars, Reggie Nelson and Mike Peterson, were also listed as being present.
An ESPN video showed an interview with Danny and the Desire Street Ministries . Danny started working with the minisitry after being drafted by the New Orleans Saints in 1997. Jack Del Rio was the Strength and Conditioning Coach at the time under Head Coach Mike Ditka. Living in New Orleans, Danny saw the poor conditions that the childern lived in just a few blocks from the Super Bowl, where he played football. He discovered Desire Street Ministries, which was founded by Mo and Ellen Leverett in 1990.
Mo started by volunteering to coach football at Carver High School. He also led Bible studies and tutored football players. In 2002 the Desire Street Academy was established, and by 2004, a staff of 50 did mentoring and tutoring, led Bible studies, and held summer camps. A pediatric clinic was also set up and Danny joined full-time when his 7 year NFL career was over. Shortly afterward ,in August of 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans destroying the Wuerffel family home and flooded all the minisitry's buildings. Along the coast of Louisianna, Mississppi, and Alabama, over 2,000 were killed with over $81 billion in damage. Many of the 190 students in the academy are still missing. It relocated at a Florida camp with only 80 students. Then in 2006, it moved to Baton Rouge as a boarding school for junior and senior high African-American males displaced by the Hurricane.
Danny is now the Executive Director of Desire Street Ministries. Coach Jack Del Rio told us that he was on the New Orleans Saints' coaching staff when Danny was drafed. They grew to know each other through Bible studies. After the luncheon, Steve Pajcic, a Florida State Alumni and local Jacksonville Lawyer gave Danny $100,000 for the ministry. Steve's donation would match one made by his brother Gary, who passed away in 2006. Gary was the Quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles for three years. His donation, as well as his brothers, illustrate that the charity and generosity knows no football rivlalry.
[Note by River City Rage, 05/23/08 3:19 AM EDT ] It's fantastic to see our Jaguars representing the city and the community well with their involvement with Desire Street Ministries. There's enough bad news about player misbehavior out there that it's nice to read something nice.
Once again, thank you Clodknocker for posting this!