Friday, January 31, 2014

Cover Story: George Reed - A Love Affair with the Land and its People

We need heroes.

They save us when we need saving. They lift us up when we are down. They remind us to keep moving, when we would rather give up. They expect more of us than we expect of ourselves. They believe in us. A true hero touches the lives of many people, and does so selflessly, and without thanks. True heroes walk among us. George Reed is not such a hero, he would say. He would say he is just doing his part.

On November 4, 2013, George was invested in the Saskatchewan Order of Merit, "a prestigious recognition of excellence, achievement and contributions to the social, cultural and economic well being of the province and its residents."

He was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi on October 2, 1939, and attended Washington State University. After turning professional at 21, he and Angie moved to Regina in 1963 to begin a 13 season career with the Riders. It was there on the grid iron where the love affair with the man and land began that continues today. George and Angie made Saskatchewan their home, raising their children and creating a legacy of giving that continue today.
On the football field, George Reed is known as a living legend as one of the greatest running backs in CFL history. He literally owns the rushing section of the Saskatchewan Roughriders records book. His resume on the field includes:
  • 10-time Western Conference All-Star;
  • 9-time Canadian All-Star;
  • 1966 Grey Cup champion; and
  • Receiving the Schenley Award in 1965 as the CFL’s most outstanding player.
In 1975, his final year in the league, George Reed was awarded the Tom Pate Memorial Trophy by the Canadian Football League Player’s Association for his outstanding playing ability and community service. Following his retirement, George served on the Saskatchewan Special Olympics Committee and chaired the Easter Seals campaign.

George served two terms as president of the league’s Players’ Association. He was a director of the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame, of which he has been a member since 1979. George received the Order of Canada in 1978 and was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1979 and the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1984, where George Reed’s #34 jersey is permanently retired.

In October 1975, George established the George Reed Foundation for the Handicapped, including Club 34 to assist mentally and physically challenged youth. It is through the Foundation that his passion for giving back comes to life and where his legacy is lived.

Subhas’ Vision: Communication is necessary to live a dignified life.

George met Subhas Maharaj, a Saskatchewan speech pathologist who was developing a visual language for those unable to communicate via the spoken word. The George Reed Foundation for the Handicapped assisted by providing Subhas with capital. In 2009, Subhas, ready to retire, approached George to help him carry on the work.

In 2010, the George Reed Foundation Inc. was revitalized and renewed with an expanded vision to work with community partners and individuals who help the disabled, disadvantaged or disengaged members of our society to become productive, proud and living in their potential.

"Subhas’ silent vision and his selfless determination will serve humanity beyond measurement,” George said in his opening remarks at a GRF/University of Regina Symposium in 2010, attended by leaders in the field of pictograms from Sweden and Japan, as well as representatives from the Saskatchewan health care community. 
The George Reed Foundation has dedicated funds to assist the University of Regina in establishing research activity. 

Special Olympics: Removing the Stigma of Disability

“Special Olympic athletes who shine with every stride, every jump, and every throw are my heroes. Not too long ago, these men and women were forgotten. Their potential was lost to them, and to society”, says George. “The true tenacity of these men and women reminds me that great things happen when people help people.”

The George Reed Foundation continues to be a proud supporter of Saskatchewan Special Olympics. The George Reed Golf Tournament for Special Olympics, now three years running, has successfully raised funds and awareness under the leadership of GRF Board Member, the late Bob Hughes. 

Mother Teresa Middle School: Overcoming Poverty

The George Reed Foundation supports Mother Teresa Middle School, which is dedicated to breaking the cycle of poverty amongst its target families. Mother Teresa Middle School serves highly motivated, economically disadvantaged students from grade 6 – 8. “When I visited Mother Teresa Middle School, I was impressed by the children’s desire to learn and to see what they were capable of when given a chance,” George remembers.

“George Reed’s legacy is not in his actions, but in who he is." - Bob Hughes

Bob Hughes was a life long friend of George. Bob wrote about George on the field, and shared his passion for helping the disabled off the field. He was a member of the GRF Board of Directors.  
Bob Hughes passed away in November 2013 as this story was being written.  
As one who documented George Reed’s life on and off the field, and who participated alongside him in his community service, it is fitting that we close on Bob’s perspective of George’s legacy.

George ReedTo his high school coach, George Reed was an outstanding leader, a great football player, a man who did what he had to do to be best he was. 
To his college coach, George Reed was as great a man, inside, then as he is now, and his college coach said he wanted to tell the people who sent him a ticket to fly to Regina next week for the George Reed Week to cash in the ticket and put the money in the George Reed Foundation for the Handicapped. He said he would pay his own way up there.
There were his former team mates. Guys like Ron Lancaster and Gary Brandt and Clyde Brock and Jack Abendschan and Larry Bird talking about the man who played 13 seasons with Saskatchewan Roughriders.
I do not remember one of them talking at length about what a great football player he was. Instead, they concentrated their energies on talking about what kind of man he is, that if you had problems, that if you had something you wanted talk over with somebody, George Reed was always there to give you his ear and, if you wanted it, his advice.
Bob Hughes, Leader Post 


The George Reed Foundation Board of Directors would like to dedicate this story to the memory of Bob Hughes.  He will be missed. The George Reed Foundation Board of Directors works tirelessly to fulfill the legacy of George Reed, Chair and Founder:  Reg Howard, Vice Chair; Lynn Armstrong, Corporate Secretary; Merv Phillips; Jim Hopson; Lisa Mitchell and Tina Holtby, Treasurer. 

A Special Message of Thanks to our Sponsors 

The George Reed Foundation thanks you, from the bottom of our heart.

On December 1, the George Reed Foundation held its 3rd Annual Mosaic Gala, presented by Wheatland Roofing, dedicating it to the memory of Bob Hughes, a friend and member of our board, who passed away suddenly in November, 2013.

We would like to thank our sponsors, The Mosaic Company, Wheatland Roofing, Scotiabank, The Phoenix Group,
Morsky Construction, Harvard Broadcasting, PrintWest Communications, SKY Magazine, The Spirit of Edmonton, Golden Opportunities Fund and Shoemaker Drywall Supplies.

We would also like to extend our appreciation to The Diplomat Steakhouse for welcoming us with a succulent five course meal and to the following organizations who helped make the silent and live auctions a success: NWL Contemporary Dresses, Studio S Fashion House, Colin O’Brian Man’s Shoppe, Jason Robins, Kitchen Gear, Hillberg & Berk, the Orr Centre Taylor Field Pub, Saskatchewan Roughriders, Sask Gaming and George Reed.

Our Vision is to work with community partners and individuals who help the disabled, disadvantaged or disengaged members of our society to become productive, proud and living in their potential.

For more information, visit our website at www

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