The Rotary Lombardi Humanitarian Award is presented to an outstanding individual from the sports community who embodies Rotary values and incorporates the Rotary 4-Way Test in all that they say, think and do. Humanitarian is defined as a person promoting human welfare and social reform. Rotary is neither religious nor political. Rotary is the world’s first service organization club with more than 1.2 million members in 33,000 clubs worldwide. Rotarians volunteer locally, regionally and internationally to combat hunger, improve health and sanitation, to provide education and job training, promote peace and eradicate polio under the motto of service above self. Rotary, as an organization, prides itself on humanitarianism.
The 2011 Humanitarian Award winner was Jim Kelly. He was the third quarterback drafted in the 1983 National Football League (“NFL”) draft. After first playing for the United States Football League’s (“USFL”) Houston Gamblers, Kelly moved to the NFL and began his illustrious career with the Buffalo Bills. Employing the K-Gun offense known for its hurry up shotgun formations, Kelly passed for more than 3,000 yards in eight different seasons, guided Buffalo to eight post-season appearances, and led the Bills to an unprecedented four consecutive Super Bowls in 1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993. In 2002 – his first year of eligibility – he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Kelly transcends professional sports and has worked tirelessly to support the fight for a cure for Krabbe Disease and related Leukodystrophies through his individual efforts and those of the Hunter’s Hope Foundation he founded. His devotion to this cause, as well as his significant work through his Kelly for Kids Foundation to improve the quality of life for disabled and disadvantaged children, is precisely what makes him the ideal recipient of the Rotary Lombardi Humanitarian Award.
There was no Humanitarian Awarded in 2010.
The inaugural recipient of the Rotary Lombardi Humanitarian award in 2009 was Robert “Bob” McNair,CEO and Founder of the Houston Texans.