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Community Quarterback winners awarded


Texans president Jamey Rootes, left, and quarterback Sage Rosenfels, right, honored community volunteer Michael Garcia as the Houston Texans NFL Community Quarterback Award overall winner.

On Tuesday, Dec. 4, Texans president Jamey Rootes and quarterback Sage Rosenfels were on hand at the United Way of Greater Houston headquarters to honor the six finalists for the Houston Texans NFL Community Quarterback Award.

The award recognizes outstanding local volunteers who exemplify leadership, dedication and a commitment to improving their communities. Throughout the season, each NFL team administers local competitions to determine local finalists. One local finalist is recognized annually as the National Community Quarterback winner, and nearly $1 million is awarded in the names of the winners to the nonprofit organizations that they serve.

Houston finalist Michael Garcia was named the Texans' overall winner and was awarded $5,000 for his nonprofit organization, the Shell Unit of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Houston, where he has selflessly volunteered for 17 years.

"I'm very honored to get this award," Garcia said. "I was kind of surprised to be nominated (by the director of the Boys & Girls Club), and really surprised that I qualified for a winner.

"But I've put in a lot of time and I really enjoy working with the kids at the Boys & Girls Club. A lot of them come from one-parent families, so it's good to have a role model and kind of try to guide them and teach them how to learn everything and play with sportsmanship."

{QUOTE}For years, Garcia has given his time as a basketball coach for young boys and girls at the Shell Unit, serving as a mentor for many of the children and often welcoming them into his own home.

The exceedingly humble Garcia is known as a father figure to many of the youngsters, and his eagerness to serve the community has spread to other facets of the Boys & Girls Clubs, including serving at countless events and spearheading the widespread recruitment of volunteers to provide ample services for children.

The other five finalists were each awarded $1,000 for their respective nonprofit organizations. Those finalists were:

  • Marika Rafte, 13 years old, who has raised over $16,000 for breast cancer awareness through the Project Pink organization
  • Chris Kidwell, 14, who has assumed a responsibility in creating a safe and friendly environment for children and animals with the South Texas Zoological Society
  • Annette and Jeanette Garza, 16, twin sisters who have been instrumental in the rebuilding of the La Rosa Family Services facility and its annual programs
  • Macy Cassin, an attorney who has represented victims of child abuse without any cost in conjunction with Prevent Child Abuse Texas
  • Judge William Burke, Jr., with Star of Hope, who has facilitated hundreds of substance abuse classes, participated in prison ministry and actively helped within his church in order to help others recover from substance abuse and make positive choices for the future

After having met each of the finalists and hearing their inspirational stories, Rosenfels was grateful to be a part of the event.

"The NFL's the most popular sport in the country and the Houston Texans are major facet of this community, and we think it's very important to honor the volunteers of this community and recognize them," he said.

"These are the people that normally go unnoticed, but what they do has a huge impact on this community and communities all over the country in a positive way. It's nice just to be able to be asked to honor sort of local heroes."

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