Monday, February 7, 2011
Immigrant of the Day (and Global Citizen): Madieu Williams (Sierra Leone), Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year
Announced before the Super Bowl, Minnesota Vikings Safety Madieu Williams was named the 2010 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. The award recognizes a player's community service as well as his playing excellence. Williams, currently in the Persian Gulf visiting U.S. service members, will receive $20,000 toward his favorite charity. Surrounded by service men and women, he appeared by video during the Super Bowl festivities to accept the award: "I'm sorry I couldn't be there to accept the award, but it's an even greater honor to be here in Iraq with Task Force Iron Horse on a goodwill tour watching the Super Bowl with our troops."
A seven-year NFL veteran and Sierra Leone native, Williams made global headlines when he made a generous donation to create The Madieu Williams Center for Global Health that is affiliated with the University of Maryland. The center was built to focus on the public health issues in Prince George's County and Sierra Leone. Williams has already funded the construction of one school in his homeland and currently a second school is in the process of being built. Madieu's foundation sponsored a mission to Sierra Leone that flew American teachers, dentists and surgeons to help educate the teachers at his school, give free dental cleanings to all of the students and provide free surgeries.
Since joining the Vikings in 2008, Williams has left his mark on the Twin Cities community. He is involved with the North Community YMCA, the United Way and Harvest Prep/Seed Academy. He also provides season tickets for kids in his "Dieu's Crew" program. During the 2010 season, Madieu was named the Vikings Community Man of the Year.