NEW ORLEANS – Former Heisman winners typically get together at least once a year in New York City for the ceremonial induction of the next trophy winner. Many also meet up at other times during the year because they have developed deep friendships. This camaraderie springs from the informal Heisman fraternity that has developed out of the players' love for football and shared interest of community service.
This week, six former Heisman Trophy winners met in New Orleans in support of Habitat for Humanity and a family who is building their first home.
The construction crew included celebrated Heisman Trophy winners John Lattner (1953, University of Notre Dame), Johnny Rodgers (1972, University of Nebraska), George Rogers (1980, University of South Carolina), Mike Rozier (1983, University of Nebraska), Danny Wuerffel (1996, University of Florida) and Eric Crouch (2001, University of Nebraska).
This unique collaboration grew out of existing relationships among Nissan and its partners Habitat for Humanity and the Heisman Trophy Trust.
"We've been involved with Habitat since 2005, right after Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast and devastated the city of New Orleans," said Mike Disser, Nissan marketing. "Both organizations (the Heisman Trust and Habitat) have similar goals. Both want to help people and give back to the community and make the world a better place. It just so happens that Nissan was able to connect both partners and help them accomplish their shared missions."
In eight years, Nissan has contributed more than $9 million to Habitat for Humanity. Nissan employees have helped to build more than 62 homes across the United States, and the company has donated 111 vehicles to support Habitat's mission.
"We are proud to partner with our premier sponsor, Nissan, these former Heisman winners and Habitat for Humanity on this worthwhile project," said William J. Dockery, President of the Heisman Trust. "When most people hear the word Heisman, they immediately think of the trophy and college football. Many do not realize the mission of The Heisman Trust is to support the underprivileged and underserved. This is just another example of the work the Heisman Trust is doing all year long."
Partnering with New Orleans Area Habitat for Humanity, the Lightfoot family will move into their new three-bedroom Habitat home in Central City from a one-bedroom apartment. The family includes a daughter, 8, two sons, ages 5 and 2 months, and a new baby on the way.
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