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Thurman Munson Award, 2021

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Ed Botti

This past Tuesday evening in the aftermath of our blizzard here on the east coast was the 41st annual Thurman Munson Awards Ceremony to benefit the AHRC New York City Foundation.

Thurman may be gone for over 41 years now, but his memory remains a legacy as powerful and determined as he was.

The AHRC is a family governed organization committed to finding ways for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to build full lives as defined by each person and supported by dedicated families, staff and community partners.

As it always has been, 2021 was no different, a lineup of sports super stars were honored. This year it was done virtually, as most things seem to be right now. The stars featured Yankees Luke Voit and Gio Urshela along with Mets outfielder Michael Conforto, Hall of famer Iván “Pudge” Rodriguez, New York Giant Hall of Famer Harry Carson, and Team USA Soccer & Chicago Red Stars goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

Voit, Urshela, Conforto, Rodriguez and Naeher will all be receivers of the Thurman Munson Award. Harry Carson will be presented with the Munson “Captain” Award.

The benefit serves to honor the late great Yankees captain and catcher Thurman Munson, who we tragically lost in the prime of his career in 1979.

The benefit has amassed more than $17 million for the AHRC NYC Foundation which supports programs that enable children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities to lead richer, more productive lives.

Diana Munson, Thurman’s widow, did not participate because of COVID-19 precautions. It was only the second ceremony she missed since 1980.

The Thurman Munson Awards are given annually for success and inspiration on the fields of play, and for community spirit off the fields of play.

A huge honor to those who are selected each year.

Since its inception, AHRC New York City affects the lives of over 15,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout the five boroughs of New York City with an assortment of incomparable services.

AHRC formed the first schools, workshops, day treatment platforms and community residences and continues to meet the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

AHRC New York City is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the city. It is governed by a Board of Directors, two-thirds of whom must be relatives of persons with developmental disabilities, working together with a staff of dedicated professionals.

Another great night of remembering Thurman Munson, and for New Yorkers to show their generosity and benevolence.

Afterwards Luke Voit, the 2020 MLB Home Run leader stated “It’s a huge honor. There are a lot of guys on our current team that have done great things in our society. It’s what Thurman Munson wanted, and it’s what we are in pinstripes.”

“… It’s an awesome award. I didn’t know I was getting it. It’s an unbelievable thing. There are a lot of past Yankees who have done amazing things.”

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For those of you that are too young to remember # 53 Harry Carson, he was a menacing inside linebacker and leader of the 1986/1987 Super Bowl Champion Giants. He was a founding member of the nasty Big Blue Wrecking Crew defense (shown above) that wreaked havoc in the NFC in the 1980’s and also made nine Pro Bowl appearances (1978–1979, 1981–1987).

Although Harry and Thurman never met, their careers crossed paths.

Carson stated “I was a young kid when we lost Thurman Munson. I knew all about him because he was the captain of the Yankees.”

“I went on to become captain of the Giants. I wanted to mold my captainship much in the way that Thurman was, just being a leader. To be recognized and honored this evening is quite flattering.”

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