The Butler Did It,

Kevin, that is!

HOI is forever grateful to the HAVE Foundation for it’s amazingly generous support of the rural education system we provide in the Agalta Valley of Honduras. 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 inception in 2006.

This year the Wilderness Team will be dedicating an upgraded soccer field at the HOI Hope Middle School to famed UGA Coach Vince Dooley, who will travel again to Rancho el Paraiso in March with his wife Barbara. Honoring Vince was the inspiration to provide this first class facility to the young people of the Agalta Valley, a statement of love and to honor the students and the game they cherish.

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 was generously represented, as was 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 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 confronted 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. So, in his remarks honoring his beloved coach, Butler commented with great enjoyment that he found it quite satisfying that Vince 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 also announced a new “Selfless Service” Award they plan to give out annually in the future. I was honored to be the first recipient that was accepted on behalf of the entire HOI staff and the thousands of volunteers that have traveled to Honduras.

Because of the generosity of the 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 planters are few (in relative terms) and the harvest is plentiful.