In 2009, I met Aeneas Williams. Aeneas was born in New Orleans, played most of his career with the Arizona Cardinals and came to the Rams in 2001. Aeneas spoke to my coaches at the St. Louis Youth Sports Summit in 2011 about the importance of having positive expectations for kids.
Aeneas is a strong advocate for youth and helps our community whenever he can. His church in Ferguson provided a safe haven for kids and their families during the unrest in 2014.
He has supported the Sportsmanship Foundation in everything from the Sportsmanship Scholarship to the Musial Awards. Aeneas touts the good about our region to moms in community centers and executives in boardrooms. If there is a person who always shows up for St. Louis, it’s Aeneas Williams.
Conversely, Isaac Bruce is a man of few words, but when he speaks, he does so with power. In 2014, we held the St. Louis Youth Sports Summit at Rams Park and Isaac was the keynote speaker.
He talked about football as the vehicle that propelled him from humble beginnings in his native Fort Lauderdale and how positive activities can lead kids to greatness. Isaac emphasized strong character as a more important attribute than physical strength.
Isaac had only three stipulations for coming to St. Louis for my event: He needed to fly on Southwest Airlines – as they have direct flights from St. Louis Fort Lauderdale, he wanted a modest hotel room close to Rams Park and he needed to be back home as soon as possible to help his wife with the kids.
Done and done! He did not ask for any money or any other special treatment. There were no police escorts or stretch limousines. And in the interest of full disclosure, I didn’t use my job or relationships with other players to curry favor with Isaac. I just called him and asked. He’s that accessible.
Isaac does this all the time for non-profits. When he believes in your mission, he’ll do what he can to help. Isaac is an awesome human being and a great friend to St. Louis.
I am so thankful for the Rams who have used their gifts to help the St. Louis region. These are just a few of the stories. Honorable mentions go out to Kurt Warner, D’Marco Farr, Chris Long, James Laurinaitis, La’Roi Glover, Steven Jackson, Chris Givens and countless others who have made St. Louis a better place to live, visit, work and play.