How an NFL Hall of Famer helped Hamilton students in need this week

Famed offensive lineman and NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Munoz spent years making sure Cincinnati Bengal quarterbacks were protected, but Tuesday he visited Hamilton schools to make sure kids from his acclaimed youth camp were shielded from winter’s cold.

Munoz stopped in at Crawford Woods and River View elementary schools to present winter coats to some of the local Hispanic boys who attended his “Hispanic Character Camp” recently.

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It’s all part of former NFL Man of The Year’s ongoing mission to give back to Greater Cincinnati and especially lower-income Hispanic children, reflecting both his own heritage and Christian faith.

“We love to give back,” he said of his Anthony Munoz Foundation. “And as you get older … you want to pay it forward and really honor those that poured into your life.”

Retired from football in 1992, the former All-Pro lineman has logged more than quarter of a century of charitable works locally and nationwide.

Munoz's foundation also impacts children across the nation as part of the NFL's Play 60 program, which conducts youth camps to make a positive impact on the youth through teaching football skills, emphasizing the importance of getting 60 minutes of physical activity a day.

According to foundation officials, the charitable organization reaches out to underprivileged youth to recognize, and reward those who excel in all phases of life. Through the foundation’s eight impact programs, which include scholarship opportunities, character camps, a tutoring program and a leadership seminar, thousands of area youth are empowered.

Hispanic students comprise 17 percent of Hamilton Schools’ 10,000-student enrollment and Crawford Woods, and Riverview schools have the largest portion of those students.

“It’s a blessing for us to spend time with them in camp,” Munoz said of the nearly dozen boys he presented with coats.

“Our camp’s mission is to build men of character. I have immense pride in my heritage, and I want these young men to feel that pride and be a role model for their peers and in their communities, no matter their situations,” Munoz said. “Our camp teaches these young men that their circumstances don’t define who they are, while giving them experiences, mentorship and encouragement they may not normally receive.”

Hamilton Schools Superintendent Larry Knapp thanked Munoz for partnering with the Butler County district.

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“The kids never saw him play, but they certainly know who he is and what he represents in the entire area,” Knapp said.

“To have him come in and take our (Hispanic) kids … to be part of this program is invaluable to them and their leadership (skills) in years to come.”

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