Day to day we struggle to find the qualities and attributes that make up a true hero and role model within society. As our world continues to grow and expand at an increasingly quick rate, we as a community rarely stop to appreciate those who truly make a difference and sacrifice so much out of the goodness of their heart. As a sports community we tend to use the words hero and role model to describe our favourite athletes, but at times forgot to mention our everyday heroes such as police officers and fire fighters. These men and women risk their lives everyday to ensure our safety working amongst the harsh reality of death or serious injury. The families of those who have fallen in the line of duty are left without a father, mother, sister or brother.
For former NHL All-Star and six-time Stanley Cup Champion Mark Messier, the well-being and assured stability of those families who have lost a loved one in the line of duty is an important and essential concern. In 2008, Messier became involved with the New York Police & Fire Widows’ and Children’s Benefit Fund, sitting on the Board of Directors and acting as a spokesperson for the charity. Since its 1985 inception, the fund has distributed over $123 million to the families of fallen fire fighters, police officers, emergency medical services and port authority officers.
Messier played a total of 10 years in New York serving two stints as Rangers captain and scored the famous game winning goal in Game 7 at Madison Square Garden which led them to their first Stanley Cup in 54 seasons. Number 11 quickly became the face of the Rangers franchise and served as a leader on and off the ice. His loyalty to his teammates was a testament to his love for the city of New York and has yet to fade in any extent even after seven years since he last dawned the Rangers sweater.
Messier recently announced that he would be participating in the ING New York City Marathon for charity. The marathon, which takes place November 6, is a 26-mile journey which Messier will be running for two charities; the Tomorrow Children’s Fund and the New York Police & Fire Widows’ and Children Fund. It has always been known throughout the hockey community that Messier has never been a runner, completing a 19-mile run during the height of his professional career. However, at age 50, the beloved former Ranger captain appears to be ready and committed to finish the marathon with strong ties to the charities he will be supporting.
Mark continues to sit on the Board of Directors for the Police and Fire Widows’ and Children Fund while serving as a special assistant to the Rangers’ President. He remains active within the hockey and social community in both Canada and the United States and is a true ambassador to the game and a servant to the countless families who have lost loved ones while serving to protect our safety.
To learn more about the Tomorrow Children’s Fund or the Police and Fire Widows’ and Children’s Fund, visit https://answerthecall.org/