ORCHARD PARK, NY (WKBW-TV) –
Buffalo Bills running back Fred Jackson has been named the Buffalo Bills 2010 Walter Payton Man of the Year as voted on by selected members of the Western New York community.
This prestigious award began in 1970 and honors players who demonstrate outstanding balance in their lives between civic and professional responsibilities. In 1999, the NFL renamed the award after the late Walter Payton as a tribute to his greatness both on and off the field.
Jackson is among the team’s most active participants in Bills community programs since arriving in 2006. He is a tremendous supporter and a spokesperson of the Bills “Billieve” breast cancer awareness campaign and is involved with a number of other charities.
Jackson is a contributing member in the 2010 Buffalo Bills community ticket program. As a part of this program, Jackson’s generosity enables numerous guests from Carly’s Club (supporting kids and cancer research) to attend Bills home games. This program allows children and their families to come to games to watch their favorite Bills players take the field. Courtesy of Jackson, guests from Carly’s Club are invited to home games and are given food and beverage vouchers. The guests are welcomed to each game with a public address announcement that airs on the scoreboard, while a banner stating “Freddie’s Fanatics” is proudly displayed on the ring wall.
In 2009 and 2010 Jackson participated in the Red Ribbon Rally, where he encouraged students to “Join the Drug Free Team.” He took part in a game of Drug Jeopardy, where his knowledge of drug abuse and ways to abstain was tested. Over 600 Pre-K through eighth grade students at Buffalo Public School #91, teachers, dignitaries, and friends of prevention participated in the event. National Red Ribbon Week allowed substance abuse prevention efforts to be in the spotlight, and Fred was a proud partner of the cause.
Furthermore, in his efforts to participate in drug prevention programs, Fred has supported Kids Escaping Drugs for the past two years. On September 21, 2010, Fred joined four other teammates at the Verizon Wireless store at the Boulevard Mall to sign autographs and raise awareness about the organization. He was featured on a poster that was given to fans who donated monies in support of the cause. The poster’s theme was “Taking Pride in Making Strides.” Kids Escaping Drugs has facilities where they offer a supportive environment that allows kids to recover and equips them to go back out into the world.
Jackson also donated his time on November 9, 2010 in an effort to represent his community, his team, and the National Football League by attending Buffalo’s “Super School” Armor Elementary. Jackson participated in a school-wide ceremony and in the Ultimate Physical Education Class. He spoke to the kids about good health and helped lead them in fitness activities. With the same goal in mind and in conjunction with the NFL’s Play 60 initiative, Jackson participated in the kickoff event for “Fuel Up to Play 60” on November 16, 2010. While here, he spoke to 100 students from five Buffalo Public Schools regarding the importance of nutrition and physical fitness.
Jackson also found time to join many teammates at the Bills annual holiday party for children on December 7, 2010. The party was for 100 children from 10 different charitable organizations and Jackson led his teammates in singing carols, visiting with children and their families and handing out presents to the less fortunate kids.
Fred’s work in the community was most recently recognized by the MQC when he was named their 2009 “Man of the Year” as well.
As the Bills Walter Payton Man of the Year, Jackson will receive $1,000 for the charity of his choice from NFL Charities and is eligible for the league-wide NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year honor. The NFL Man of the Year will be selected by a blue ribbon panel and recognized at a press conference during Super Bowl week. The national winner will receive a $25,000 donation to the 501c3 organization of his choice.
Former Bills honored with this award include: George Wilson, Lee Evans, Drew Bledsoe, Jim Kelly, Jerry Butler, Ted Washington, London Fletcher, Ruben Brown and Brian Moorman.