The 2012 Ed Block Courage Award recipients pose at the 35th anniversary celebration March 18.
The 2012 Ed Block Courage Award recipients pose at the 35th anniversary celebration March 18. (Submitted Photo , Carroll County Times)

Ed Block Courage Award Foundation, celebrating its 35th anniversary with a celebration themed "The Past, Present and Future," honored one member from every team in the NFL as well as named the NFL Assistant Coach of the Year and the NFL Athletic Training Staff of the Year.

Several different celebration venues included the lovely Sheraton Baltimore Center Hotel. Sunday evening, prior to the gala, sponsors had the opportunity to eat tasty food, socialize and mingle with NFL recipients of this year's Ed Block Courage Awards presentations. Monday evening, approximately 1,300 attendees enjoyed a tasty dinner at Martin's West posh catering facility, where they had the opportunity to see the Ed Block Courage Award recipients receive their prestigious awards.

As an added bonus, Monday morning, the recipients visited several venues, socializing and playing games with the children aided by the organization. The kids love and look forward to this opportunity every year! The players all are aware of the importance of this interaction with these kids, and the importance of establishing "Courage Homes" in each of their individual NFL cities.

The Ed Block Courage Award Foundation was originally established in 1978 with Sam Lamantia's involvement with the Eastside Athletic Club. Sam's vision, the same as the late, beloved Colts athletic trainer Ed Block, was to give proceeds from this event to benefit abused kids. The very first banquet honoring a football player who exemplified courage honored Baltimore Colt's defensive end Joe Ehrmann.

However, within a few years, our beloved Baltimore Colts relocated to Indianapolis in the middle of the night, and sadly, secretly, abandoned Baltimore.

Sam's dream to help abused kids almost did not succeed!

However, John Lopez, Baltimore Colts head athletic trainer, involved the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society, including Ernie Accorsi, Baltimore Colts assistant general manager, Sister Grace Calvisi, from St. Vincent's Child and Family Care Center that housed abused children, plus Larry Harris and a group of dedicated volunteers. The work of this group brought the Ed Block Foundation through this devastating time.

In 1984, the Ed Block "Courage Award" Foundation inaugural national event honored a recipient from each of the 32 NFL teams.

Each NFL team selects the one player that best exemplifies courage to receive this prestigious "Ed Block Courage Award" recognition.

Precious abused, neglected or at risk children are the beneficiaries. To date, Courage Homes have been established in most NFL cities. Sam Lamantia is the godfather of helping abused children throughout the entire NFL. Fantabulous! There has to be a place in heaven for Sam and the dedicated people involved that assisted him throughout this tedious but worthwhile endeavor.

The Courage House logo represents complete involvement/partnership/network with the Ed Block Foundation, the National Football League, NFL Charities, the Professional Football Athletic Trainers Society, PFATS, the NFL Players Association, NFLPA, NFL Coaches Association, NFL Films, NFL Properties, Inc., Pro Football Hall of Fame and NFL Alumni. Wow! A fab involvement of the entire NFL with our local Ed Block Foundation organization.

Note, Roger Goodell, has been NFL Commissioner since 2006.

This venture has been a mega success! There are now 23 Courage Home's flourishing, with the additional 9 NFL cities soon to join this network of Courage Houses to benefit abused kids in every NFL city.

In addition to Baltimore, National Courage Homes have been established in the cities of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Atlanta Falcons, St. Louis Rams, Indianapolis Colts, Buffalo Bills, San Francisco, Minnesota Vikings, Green Bay Packers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles and San Diego Chargers.

Football players for honored for this past 2012 football season includes:

AFC East: Kyle Williams, Tony McDaniel, Logan Mankins, Jeff Cumberland

NFC East: Jason Witten, Chris Canty, Colt Anderson, Kory Lichtensteiger

AFC North: Terrell Suggs, Leon Hall, Reggie Hodges, Willie Colon

NFC North: Nick Roach, Jahvid Best, Tramon Williams, Adrian Peterson

AFC West: Chris Kuper, Jamaal Charles, Travis Goethel, Quentin Jammer

NFC West: Kerry Rhodes, Danny Amendola, Kyle Williams, James Carpenter

Also honored this year:

Pro Football Weekly Assistant Coach of the year: Bruce Arians, Offensive Coordinator, Indianapolis Colts

2012 NFL Athletic Training Staff of the year: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Todd Toriscelli, Head athletic trainer; Shannon Merrick, Director of Rehabilitation; John Ames, Assistant Athletic Trainer.

Special recognition also to the emcees of this outstanding sports gala, Scott Garceau, Tom Matte and Keith Mills.

Sam Lamantia Jr. is founder, chairman of the board and CEO of the Ed Block Courage Awards Foundation; Lenny Moore, former Baltimore Colt #24, member Pro-Football Hall of Fame Class of '75 is president emeritus.

Staffers include William Pateris, Paul Mittermeier and Kevin Topolski.

Mary Ann Peacock and G.G. Hyle are the top notch volunteer operations directors that include many committee directors plus mega volunteers too numerable to list due to space limitations.

There is a National Advisory Board.

Thank you to all of the above involved for your work in bringing this very involved event to fruition!

Best wishes to this football organization for many, many, yes, many, more years of success and benefiting unfortunate abused children! L'Chaim!

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