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Back in an earlier life when I was working in the insurance business, our company used to do a lot of work in the community.

Our leadership group thought it was extremely important to give back to the communities that we served so all of our employees were encouraged — they actually almost made it imperative — to get involved either in a charity that our company did business with or one that was near and dear to our heart. They made it easier for us, giving us the time off from work to work with our chosen charity or providing "comp time" that we could use at a later date.

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That is a lesson that I had picked up years before, as many of the sports teams I was on got involved in some sort of charitable activities, and early in my professional career when Carroll County Bank and its employees were very active in the local community. Through my career I have been involved with the Carroll County YMCA, The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of America, The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the Pre-cana (pre-marriage) an Marriage Investment (post-marriage) teams at St. John, and various roles with sports organizations to this day.

For the most part, people don't get involved in charitable activities because they are "made" to or because they are "required" to. People get involved in their chosen charity to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate than they are or to help raise funds or awareness about a particular disease or cause that they are passionate about.

Merriam-Webster even defines charity as "benevolent goodwill toward or love of humanity."

Sometimes something happens that is so tragic that even though it may not affect each of us directly or is not one of our passionate causes that we care so much about, we feel like we have to get involved for the "love of humanity."

Hurricane Harvey and the victims it left in its wake in Texas and Louisiana is just one of those tragedies.

The government seems to have learned so much from the disaster that was Katrina and have or will shortly mobilize all aspects of assistance including funding (no pressure Congress), providing short-term lodging and food for the displaced victims and being ready to respond to any request from the governors of each state.

But they can't and shouldn't be expected to be the only ones involved in the historic clean-up and rehabilitation of Harvey's devastation. It's imperative that we all do what we can to help out in this situation.

As much as I've written in the past about certain athletes that ignore their celebrity status or claim, as one of my favorite basketball players and announcers Charles Barkley does, that they are not role models, it is times like this when you see who the real role models and heroes are.

Houston Texans defensive end J. J. Watt has been just that guy in the wake of this recent tragedy. Despite people being overly critical of his own personal $100,000 donation (I'd love to be in a position to donate $100K) he has been the point person on the relief effort for his adopted hometown and has raised more than $15 million in relief funds to help out his fellow Houstonians.

The Broncos' Emmanuel Sanders grew up not too far from the hardest hit parts of the hurricane and has been working with his teammates to raise funds for the victims. So far, they are up to $70,000 and the Denver Broncos organization has even offered to match the players' donations dollar for dollar to help in the cause.

There are many others that are jumping on the bandwagon as well.

The Texans' owner offered up a cool million and the NFL quickly jumped in to match those funds. Many other NFL teams have made substantial pledges including $1 million from the Ravens. The Astros have pledged $4 million and working with Major League Baseball have also agreed to send the money raised from parking, concessions, and ticket revenue from this weekend's games with the Rangers to the relief efforts.

The Houston Rockets' ownership group originally agreed to match the Astros' donation but have since increased that number to $10 million.

Players from across professional sports have stepped up to make their contributions to the relief efforts from donating to match their uniform numbers ($21,000 from Ezekiel Elliott; $27,000 from Mike Trout) to Leonard Fournette donating $50,000 and the Indians' Jay Bruce's pledge with his wife to match fan donations up to $100,000.

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Saint Francis of Assisi once wrote, "Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance."

Maybe for once we should all follow the lead of our professional sports organizations and their athletes for a good cause.

410-857-7896

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