In a well-attended dedication ceremony, National Football League Hall of Famer Howie Long was recognized as the first-ever recipient of a “NFL Hometown Hero” award. According to George Veras, director of the “Hometown Hero” program for the NFL, “This unveiling is the first of its kind as part of a national campaign to re-connect NFL legends with their hometown and Howie has always referenced his Charlestown upbringing and the valuable life lessons he learned there.” A plaque, which highlights Long’s sensational football achievements, will be on permanent display at the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club.
Also participating in the ceremony were Josh Kraft, CEO of the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, and All State Insurance Vice President Mark LaNeve, whose company is the sponsor of the “Hometown Hero” initiative. “We are deeply honored that Howie selected our Charlestown Club as a place of personal importance,” Kraft said. “Not all of our members can grow up to be a pro football hall of famer, but Howie’s message to the young people we serve is clear: that by working hard, staying focused on your dreams, and seeking positive adult role models, you can overcome obstacles and reach your potential.”
After a video presentation of his emotional Hall of Fame acceptance speech, Howie graciously spoke about his “Townie” roots and upbringing. Long’s distinguished NFL career with the Oakland/LA Raiders included eight Pro-Bowl selections, a 1984 Super Bowl championship, and enshrinement to the NFL Hall of Fame in 2000.
Charlestown Boys and Girls Club Director Greg Jackson, who emceed the event, extends his sincere appreciation to John Doherty and Zume’s Coffee Shop, John Iacoi and the Charlestown Boys and Girls Club Advisory Board, Tom Jackson and the building maintenance personnel, and all of the employees who helped contribute to what was a very special occasion.