Preaching an important message

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“The Reverend” Isaac Bruce gives back  

Ed Kapp
News Writer

 

Throughout the history of professional football, few athletes have reached the levels of success that Isaac Bruce has achieved on the gridiron.

What may be surprising, especially considering how terrific a football player the future NFL Hall of Famer was, is that Bruce is even more deserving of recognition for the great work he has been doing off the field since entering the league in 1994.

Although Bruce is known by football fans as an integral member of the Super Bowl XXXIV-winning St. Louis Rams and is primarily remembered for any number of his over 1,000 catches, over 15,000 yards and 91 career receiving touchdowns in his 16-year career, the Fort Lauderdale, Fla. native’s charitable organization, the Isaac Bruce Foundation, has been making just as big an impact off the field as the sure-handed receiver ever made between the sidelines.

Bruce, who is currently working to become a minister, views his foundation as serving two important functions.

“I look at it as a way to honour God and help people,” offered Bruce. “That is at the very core of what we do, and, up to this date, I think we’re doing a serviceable job.”

Bruce’s foundation has long worked to provide underprivileged high school students with opportunities that they would otherwise be lacking, donating nearly $200,000 in grants and scholarships since 2006 and rewarding more than 550 students with the opportunity to attend an NFL game for their work in the classroom and community.

“Some of the goals we have are to make it possible for (high school students) who may be lacking funds going into the next level of education and make it possible for them to have those funds, and we do what we can do to encourage and also help them,” said Bruce.

Although Bruce has worked extensively to help high school students, providing many with financial support and unique opportunities, his foundation has also done a great deal to help younger students make healthy lifestyle decisions.“Our biggest desire is to promote having a healthy lifestyle, as far as eating well, exercising, dieting, and nutrition,” noted Bruce.

“We’ve done some projects with the Healthy Youth Partnership in St. Louis, visiting local grammar and elementary and middle schools throughout the city of St. Louis. They’re very much into some of the ideas that we have at the Isaac Bruce Foundation as far as healthy lifestyle. Making sure the healthy lifestyle is preached and proclaimed.”

In the future, Bruce, 38, has big plans for both his foundation and for himself.

“I see the Isaac Bruce Foundation expanding throughout every city in the United States and making a huge dent internationally – making sure the Isaac Bruce Foundation is all over the world, honouring God and helping people,” said an enthusiastic Bruce. “Every day is an opportunity to study, execute what I’m learning and be out on the field, making sure I’m on the front lines. I’m doing my part, and I plan on that part growing and being much more part of the ministry.”

Bruce, who was nicknamed “The Reverend” during his playing days, has long dreamt of preaching, rather than playing, on Sundays.

“The word of God has been a part of my life before I stepped on earth. My mother is a minister and I just love proclaiming the word of God – in word and in deed,” exclaimed a passionate Bruce.

“I think it’s truly what the world needs right now, and it’s the only way that we as human beings can be reconciled back into God, so my proclaiming of the word and living the word is truly instrumental not only to others but to myself, also.”

Although Bruce will no doubt be remembered as one of the classiest and most productive athletes of all time, what is more important than that is that the University of Memphis alumni serves as a true role model –  not only to athletes, but to everyone, for the hard work he has done to make the world a better place.

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