Austin Hatch

Austin Hatch, Courageous Student-Athlete

In November 2014 Austin Hatch scored his first point as a member of the University of Michigan’s Men’s Basketball Team. It had always been his dream to play basketball for the Wolverines.  Austin survived two plane crashes in his life, one in 2003 that claimed his mother and two siblings and another in 2011 claiming his father and stepmother. The 2011 crash left him in an eight-week coma with a massive brain injury.  Through courage, hard work and determination, Austin found his way back to life and to the hardwood where he continues to inspire others.

Lauren Hill

Lauren Hill, Courageous Student-Athlete (posthumous)

Lauren Hill committed to play basketball at Mount St. Joseph University on her 18th birthday. A few weeks later she was diagnosed with a rare inoperable brain tumor. She was determined to play a college game and fulfill her dream so her school petitioned the NCAA to move its first game up. Lauren played, scoring the first two points of the game.  She went on to play in four more games during the season.  Lauren’s story went national and she became the face of pediatric cancer. She’s raised over $2 million 
for cancer research.  After touching a nation, Lauren’s battle ended in April of this year. Lauren’s legacy will live on, as her efforts to raise awareness and funds to find a cure for pediatric cancer will continue.

Willie Burton

Willie Burton, A Hero Among Us

Willie Burton was born with cerebral palsy caused by a bleed in the part of his brain that controls walking and affects speech.  Despite his physical limitations, Willie always wanted to do more than his body would allow, so he decided to join the wrestling team in high school. He received no special treatment, working as hard as everyone on the team. Throughout his high school career he crawled to the mat and wrestled over 100 times, losing each match.  Willie persevered and finally won his first match late in the season during his senior year. His hand was raised in victory for the first time.   He won only once but Willie says wrestling has helped make him the person he is today.

Shawn HarringtonShawn Harrington, Coach

Growing up on the west side of Chicago, a place notorious for violent crime, Shawn Harrington used basketball as an escape. As a star basketball player he had a small part in the sports documentary Hoop Dreams. He was recruited to New Mexico State where he continued playing. He returned to his high school alma mater Marshall to teach special education and coach. This was against his mother’s wishes because of the street violence. The violence he lost her to. One morning in January 2014, his life changed. Shawn was driving his daughter to school. At a stoplight, before he knew what was happening there were bullets smashing through the car. He was hit in the back and paralyzed from the waist down. Shawn continues to be an inspiration to those around him.

Location THORNTON, NH ‚Äì Date Friday, Aug. 2, 2013: Carmen Blandin Tarleton spent the weekend camping at the Pemi Valley Bluegrass Festival in Thornton, New Hampshire. She was joined by her boyfriend, Sheldon Stein, and his sister, Nanci Stein. On June 10, 2007, Ms. Tarleton's estranged husband broke into her home in rural Vermont, beat her with a baseball bat, and doused her in industrial strength lye. After being in a medically induced coma for three and a half months, she awoke to find she had been blinded and disfigured by burns covering more than 80 percent of her body. Ms. Tarleton has had more than 50 surgeries, including a full-face transplant. †Credit: Leslye Davis/The New York Times 30146218A NYTCREDIT: Leslye Davis/The New York Times

Carmen Tarleton, Civic Leader

Carmen Tarleton is a true survivor and heroic woman.  In June 2007, Carmen was beaten with a baseball bat and doused with industrial strength lye by her estranged husband. That night would change this former nurse’s life forever. After only hours, her burns were so bad that she was unrecognizable to her family except for her hands and teeth. She was put in a medically induced coma during which she underwent 38 surgeries. After 3 months she woke from the coma disfigured and blind. She was in constant pain physically and emotionally. She underwent countless surgeries and received a rare face transplant. Carmen realized that her story had to be told and by sharing she could help people even more than when she was a nurse.

1955 Cannon Street All Stars

1955 Cannon Street YMCA Little League All-Stars, Barrier Breakers

In the summer of 1955, 14 African-American boys from the Cannon Street YMCA Little League in Charleston, South Carolina, entered their local Little League Tournament along with tens of thousands of other kids from across the United States and several other countries. For the few lucky enough
to win, there would be a trip to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for the Little League Baseball World Series. 61 of the 62 Little League programs in South Carolina were made up of all white players and all 61 teams refused to play the team from Cannon Street. The 61 teams separated themselves from the Little League organization and started their own league which left the Cannon Street team without anyone to play, but also ineligible to enter the tournament.  Little League rules state that in order to advance to the next level that each team must have played and beat other teams in South Carolina. However, even though the Cannon Street team was unable to play, Little League invited the boys as their special guests to the World Series. At the time, those 14 young boys probably had no idea the impact they had on society. They inspired people then and continue to even today.

Any Body Can

Any Body Can Youth Foundation, Community Organization

Founded in 1957 by boxing legend Archie Moore and carried on by his son Billy, the program uses boxing as the backdrop for lessons about life, character and citizenship. The most common result being a transformation for boys and girls who don’t fit in, to those who fit in well with others, as well as who are able to fit comfortably within their own skin. Any Body Can Youth Foundation offers a wide array of programs including, “Bridging the Gap,” boxing for self-defense and building self-esteem, nutrition, and it has recently expanded and become a complete after school program.