Reggie Wayne for his work with youth
July 16, 2015
Ever since he came to town for rookie training camp, former Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne has given back to Indianapolis.
Today, Indianapolis gave the key to the city to him.
Calling Wayne “our adopted son,” Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard praised Wayne for his work ethic and his willingness to be a role model for young people.
He made the presentation Friday during the Pacers Sports and Entertainment Luncheon at the Indiana Convention Center. The event was part of Indiana Black Expo’s Summer Celebration, which ends Sunday.
For the last 14 years Wayne has made it a priority to give back to the city’s youth. Whether he’s helping the homeless stay warm with blanket drives, hosting charity events to benefit the American Cancer Society for childhood cancer research or making surprise visits to neighborhoods around the city, speaking to at-risk youth, Wayne doesn’t want a pat on the back.
“People always ask me, ‘Why do you do this?’ And I tell them I do it because I care,” Wayne said.
Wayne who is eighth all-time in NFL receiving yards (14,345) and sixth all-time in catches (1,070) thanked the city for embracing him and welcoming him to the Colts family.
“I don’t have one bad thing to say about Indiana. The fans treated me with respect and they were great,” Wayne said.
Born in New Orleans, Wayne didn’t get a chance to see athletes or celebrities as a kid, and understands the impact talking and interacting with them could have.
“Growing up I didn’t get a chance to meet athletes, so seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces is priceless,” Wayne said. “For me to be able to talk to them is important. Whatever they want to talk about, I’m here.”
The new recipient of the key to the city ended his speech with a story about an elderly lady he met last week in the airport.
“The lady approaches me and says to me, ‘You look like Reggie Wayne, but he left.’” He replied, “No ma’am, I think he’s still here. I’ll always be a Hoosier.”
Other award recipients at the luncheon were Linda W. Clement-Holmes, who received the Senator Carolyn Brown Mosby Above & Beyond Award. Clement-Holmes, chief information officer at P&G, was recognized “for her ongoing commitment to serve humanity and her ability to persevere and overcome considerable odds to exceed other’s expectations and achievements.”
“Receiving this award today carries more significance than any other award I’ve received, because of who the lady named after this award was and is,” Clement-Holmes said. Mosby was a former Indiana state senator.
Nathaniel Lee and his late wife, Carmen Lee, were awarded The Rev. Charles R. Williams Excellence Award. Nathaniel, who is an attorney and Carmen, a former Indianapolis Public Schools teacher, made contributions in their community for over 20 years.
The award was presented to the Lees for helping shape, contribute, or strengthen Indiana Black Expo’s vision of promoting African American achievements in academics, athletics, business, education, health or the arts.
“It’s our job to continue to address social issues that our black community is facing,” Nathaniel Lee said.
Not in attendance was actor, comedian and writer Anthony Anderson, who was awarded the Screen Image Award. Anderson has starred in films and television series such as “Romeo Must Die” and “Black-ish.”
Actor Derek Luke received the first annual Your Life Matters Award. Luke, known for his role in Antwone Fisher, co-starring Denzel Washington, was also recognized for his community service work with young black men.
“Don’t judge a book by its cover, get out and speak to these young men. Talk to them, not about money and fame, but about life,” Luke said to a standing ovation.