Former New York Mets star Rusty Staub is thankful each Sunday he attends Mass and asks what else he can do even though he’s already a significant difference-maker off the field.
Staub received the Terence Cardinal Cooke Humanitarian Award on June 9 at the 80th annual CYO Club of Champions Tribute Dinner at the Waldorf Astoria in Manhattan.
Staub became the first person to win both the Terence Cardinal Cooke Humanitarian Award for his outstanding commitment to youth and the John V. Mara Sportsman of the Year Award, which he won in 2005 for exhibiting exceptional sportsmanship throughout his career.
Staub was one of three individuals recognized as ESPN’s Hannah Storm received the Sportsman of the Year Award and Christopher Gallagher, president of the CYO board of directors, was the recipient of the Gold Medal Award. Epiphany parish and The Epiphany School of Manhattan won the 2015-2016 CYO Archdiocesan Sportsmanship Award.
WNYW Fox 5 sports anchor Duke Castiglione served as the master of ceremonies, and Cardinal Dolan and New York Giants co-owner John Mara were among the speakers.
“This is always the most enjoyable evening,” said Cardinal Dolan at the dinner with 325 guests. “I want you all to know how much I appreciate the support, the generosity, and the encouragement and participation you give our CYO.
“Why do we do it? Jesus said let the little children come to me. One of the best ways we let the children come to Jesus is through our sports. That keeps them close to him and to his Church,” the cardinal said.
A 23-year veteran of Major League Baseball, Staub started The Rusty Staub Foundation in 1985 with the goal of “benefiting youth, fighting hunger.” The foundation has raised more than $17 million and serves 1 million meals annually in partnership with Catholic Charities.
“I’m very lucky to be here,” said Staub, who suffered a heart attack on a flight from Ireland to New York last October, in his acceptance speech. “When I go to church every Sunday, I say, ‘Thanks for another week.’ I’m not kidding you. I say, ‘I don’t know if there is something else I’m supposed to be doing, but if there is, I don’t have that in my mind. I’m going to continue the work I’ve been doing.’”
Ms. Storm, 53, is the first woman to win the Sportsman of the Year Award, an honor that dates back to 1963. She’s an award-winning ESPN SportsCenter host, producer, director and the founder of the Hannah Storm Foundation, which funds critical surgeries for children suffering from debilitating vascular birthmarks around the world.
“I’m so grateful to all of you in this room tonight for teaching our young people there is greatness inside each and every one of them,’’ said Ms. Storm in a video acceptance speech. She was in Louisville, Ky., preparing to cover the funeral of boxing great Muhammad Ali the next day.
“I’m humbled and honored by your award,” she said. “I am sorely disappointed to not be there in person, but please know my heart is with you tonight and my prayers are with you always for the important and life-changing work you continue to do.”
Gallagher, 67, earned the Gold Medal Award for providing inspiration and leadership for the youth in New York City. He’s done that by serving as chairman of the board of directors at Msgr. Scanlan High School in the Bronx, co-chair of The Inner City Scholarship Fund Lawyers Division and president of the CYO board of directors.
“CYO provides wonderful programs for over 25,000 children of all faiths in a safe environment,’’ said Gallagher, who also is on the board of directors for Catholic Big Brothers of New York and the board of trustees for the College of Mount St. Vincent.
“All of our children see the wonderful example provided by our volunteers and parish priests and the values of kindness and morality that are very much needed in today’s world.”