Raffy Don's the Full Fireman's Gear (Larry Goren/Dodgers/mlb.com)

Making a difference

Athletes grab national headlines on a regular basis, and not just for their athletic achievements.  We hear of athletes using illegal substances to improve their performances all of the time.  Major League Baseball may end up disregarding a decade of play as a result of steroid and HGH use by so many of its players.

We also are deluged with images of athletes behaving badly.  Ben Roethlisberger may be better known for his lack of judgment off the field than what he has done off it.  Just recently, Miguel Cabrera was arrested for DUI.  This has been a continuous battle for Cabrera and we should all pray that he wins this battle regardless of the team we support. 

Athletes in all of the major sports in America seemed to have earned a reputation as being egotistical, greedy, ill-mannered, entitled, arrogant bunch of whiners who think that they are above the law.  Stories such as those mentioned above are the ones that make the news.  Sadly, more often than not, stories of athletes giving back go unreported.  Perhaps this is due to the fact that the athletes involved are not working to help their communities for the recognition.

It was with great joy this morning, as I listened to the Mike & Mike show on ESPN radio, that I heard them discussing Rafal Furcal and the state of his contract.  For once this was not another scenario of an athlete under contract holding out for more money or demanding a trade.

For those who do not know, Furcal is from the Dominican Republic, that tiny country that shares an island with Haiti.  He hails from the tiny town of Loma de Cabrera, which has a population of 7,000.  Furcal has never forgotten his humble beginnings, nor the incredible poverty of his hometown.  And he wanted to give something back.

So when he signed his last contract with the Dodgers, Furcal had it written into his contract with the Dodgers that a used fire truck would be donated to the local fire department in Loma.  In case you are wondering, a used fire truck goes for about $300,000.  This is the town’s first fire truck. 

Can you imagine the impact that this generous gift will have on the community?  Not only is Furcal helping to keep the community safer, but if anyone needs medical attention that requires hospitalization, Furcal picks up the bill. 

Wow.  I am certainly proud to have a man of the moral character of Rafael Furcal on the Dodgers to root for and support this year.  I, for one, will be rooting a little bit harder for Furcal to have a monster year.      

His example is a great reminder that not all athletes are self-absorbed, egomaniacs.  What an incredible reminder that one person can make a difference.  I cannot help but be inspired by this story.  And I hope that you are as well. 

We have seen the impact athletes can have on influencing others.  I hope this is one of those times.  I hope you are so inspired that you will join me in looking for ways to give back to your community.  While I doubt many of us have the deep pockets of a pro baseball player, but there are many ways and many worthy causes through which we can all make a difference.   Let’s do it!

Tags: Los Angeles Dodgers Rafael Furcal

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