If you remember a few weeks back, we found out that Nelson Cruz had been nominated for the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award (what a mouthful.) That award is a part of ESPN’s annual “Espys” ceremony, and the presentation was last night.
Once again, here is the official press release version of why Cruz won:
Six-time MLB All-Star Nelson Cruz has completely transformed the safety and welfare of his hometown in the Dominican Republic, Las Matas De Santa Cruz. Thanks to Cruz, the town has a fire engine and an ambulance to treat and transport people to the hospital, which is nearly one hour away. He built a new police station to replace a plywood shack structure and donated a motorcycle for police officers, who previously had to walk. Annually, Cruz brings dentists and optometrists to his hometown’s local clinic to provide checkups, medicine and eyewear. His health event with volunteer doctors and donated equipment and medicine enabled more than 1,200 people to be evaluated and treated. He has purchased wheelchairs, crutches, walkers and canes for elderly and disabled residents. Cruz’s Boomstick23 Foundation also has laid the groundwork for a new education and technical center to help young people learn how to advance their employability by learning trades such as carpentry or electrical, and how to better use farmland to produce crops. Additionally, his Healing Venezuela initiative helps 2,000 Venezuelan newborns annually receive life-sustaining nourishment during their first year (a 400 percent increase since Cruz became involved).
The award itself is:
given to an athlete whose continuous, demonstrated leadership and care has created a measured positive impact on their community through sports.
That sounds like Cruz to me. In addition to all of his past contributions, we also know that Cruz has spent time, effort, and money on Coronavirus relief. It’s great to see that he is the role model this front office believed in for the younger Twins players, and he will get an opportunity to invest further into his causes.
In addition to the recognition, which I doubt is the reason he did any of those things, Cruz will be able to direct a $100,000 grant to the causes he has supported over the years. I think that money could do a lot of good in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic.
Among the runners up were former Minnesota Lynx Maya Moore and Cleveland Cavalier Kevin Love (formerly of the Minnesota Timberwolves.) All the runners up will be able to direct a $25,000 grant to their chosen causes.
Once again, congratulations to Cruz, and to all his co-nominees.