Football or Fútbol?
by: Jerry Eickhoff
A significant part of the HOI growth strategy is to partner with great organizations to help us leverage our community led approach to development. One for the organizations that has been very helpful to the upgrading and expansion of our educational system in Honduras is the HAVE Foundation (HAVEFoundation.org). HAVE is an acronym for Honduras Agalta Valley Education, and this 501c3 is dedicated to raising funds and support for the HOI schools. We are grateful to HAVE for it’s generous support of the rural education system we provide in the Agalta Valley. Led by Chairman Clark Dean, Executive Director Kathy Bernhardt, and the co-juggernaut of Susan and Bob Hope, HAVE and the famous “Wilderness Team” have provided over $800,000 of educational funding since it’s formation in 2006.
This year, in support of and along side the students and their parents, the Wilderness Team will be completing landscaping at the Aldersgate Elementary School and an upgraded soccer field at the HOI Hope Middle School. This field will be dedicated to famed University of Georgia Coach Vince Dooley, who will join the work team again, this time with his wife Barbara. Honoring Vince was the inspiration to provide this first class facility for the young people of the Agalta Valley and the game they cherish, which is the national pastime of Honduras.
In addition to the HAVE contributions of funds and hard work, Coca-Cola is providing an electronic scoreboard and FIFA is contributing goals and field marking equipment.
At the recent HAVE gala fundraiser at the Buckhead Theater in Atlanta, a bevy of high-profile athletes and HAVE participants assembled to thank Vince for his efforts in this regard. The University of Georgia football team was generously represented, as were the Chicago Bears. HAVE Honoree Tamara Mannelly, a three time Wilderness team member, and her husband Patrick Mannelly, the storied long snapper for the Bears, along with Kevin Butler, the famous place kicker for the Georgia Bulldogs and Chicago Bears, were all there to help raise funds and awareness for the work in Honduras.
Butler capped off the fun evening with the following story. Kevin arrived at Georgia as a standout high school soccer player and football place kicker. As he began his college career playing for the Bulldogs he also played club soccer. When Coach Dooley learned of his extracurricular activities on the soccer field he called Kevin in and informed him that he’d heard he was playing ”Kick ball”. As the discussion about soccer progressed, Kevin was informed this was a violation of his football scholarship terms and he’d have to give up the game to focus solely on football. So, in his remarks honoring his beloved coach, Butler commented with great enjoyment that he found it quite satisfying to learn Coach Dooley was being recognized for his work in bringing a soccer field to the children of Honduras.
HAVE also honored Barbara and Joe Stock, audiologists who have performed hearing tests on thousands of Honduran children. The organization announced a new “Selfless Service” Award they plan to give out annually in the future. I was honored to be the first recipient, and the award was accepted on behalf of the entire HOI staff and the thousands of volunteers that have traveled to Honduras.
Because of the generosity of HAVE supporters, the HOI schools offer the finest educational opportunities in Olancho.
If you would like to find a way to plug into HOI and make a difference in the lives of thousands of deserving people, please just let us know. The workers are few but the harvest is plentiful.
Jerry Eickhoff, CEO