Steelers' Polamalu to receive YMCA top honor
Forgive Troy Polamalu if he is a little fidgety Thursday night, if the hard-hitting, soft-spoken safety is anything but comfortable at the Downtown YMCA's 33rd Annual Scholar Athlete Banquet that will celebrate many things, including (gasp!) him.
Polamalu is generally loathe to talk about himself when it comes to anything and that especially includes the work he does off the field -- whether it's making the day of a sick child or starting a foundation to help a group that Polamalu said is too often cast aside by society.
"I don't really feel comfortable taking credit for anything," Polamalu said of his commitment to charity. "To me it's something we're supposed to do."
That sense of duty and what has resulted from it since Polamalu became a Steeler is a major reason why he will be awarded the Downtown YMCA's Person of the Year Award Thursday at the Pittsburgh Hilton.
Past winners of the award, which will be given at the banquet that honors area high school student-athletes, include Dan Rooney, Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher, Andy Russell, Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis.
"(Polamalu) really has shown himself to be on of the leaders in Pittsburgh on and off the field," said Ken Horoho, a longtime YMCA board member who chairs the banquet.
If Polamalu is one of the most giving Steelers, he also has his own unique style of doing so, and that's with as little publicity as possible.
Best put, one of the most recognizable Steelers is one of the most stealth Steelers when it comes to doing good deeds.
"Troy is always willing to make a difference in a child's life, though he doesn't seek the spotlight for his actions," Steelers community relations manager Michele Rosenthal said. "He enjoys spending time with a Make-a-Wish child or dropping in for a surprise visit to Children's Hospital and making those he visits feel like they are the most important person in the world."
Indeed, Polamalu does not show up at hospitals just to sign autographs and pose for pictures.
He forges a personal connection with the sick children he visits on a regular basis, which makes their experiences that much more special.
"I could sit there and see 50 kids and literally scribble on a piece of paper and have them be satisfied," Polamalu said. "It would be way more authentic for me to say 'Hey Michael, hey Luke, hey John, how are you guys doing' and really get to know everybody."
Polamalu soon will try to do the same things with veterans of war.
He and his wife, Theodora, are in the process of starting a foundation that will benefit veterans (the issue of their treatment is personal to the Polamalus since three of their grandfathers served in World War II).
In typical Polamalu fashion, his work with the foundation will entail much more than just raising money for it and its beneficiaries.
The three-time Pro Bowler said he plans to spend time with veterans to show them that people care about them, to, as Polamalu said, "give them love."
"The easiest thing to do is to give money, especially when you have a high-paying job," Polamalu said. "I think when you sacrifice time is when you really sacrifice something."
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- LeBeau won’t join Cardinals coaching staff
- Increasing pressure on QBs will be offseason focus for Steelers
- Steelers sign punter Wing to 1-year extension
- NFL names sportsmanship award after Steelers founder
- Steelers mum on national report involving head of security
- Steelers’ Rooney says both teams should use same footballs
- Steelers notebook: Opponents for 2015 are released
- Steelers sign CFL defensive end Lemon