January is the month of champions: George Foreman was born January 10th–Joe Frazier was born January 12th–a King named Martin Luther was born on January 15th–and the Greatest aka Muhammad Ali was born on January 17th.
This day January 17, 2018, on the birthday of my friend Muhammad Ali another friend, champion and hero of the people was honored on Capitol Hill, Senator Bob Dole.
Congratulations to Senator Dole a true American hero. The former Senate Majority Leader was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor by President Donald Trump for his extraordinary service to his country. He was awarded two Bronze Stars for the wounds he suffered in combat in World War ll. The former Presidential candidate was honored for his service as a soldier, legislator and statesman. Senator Dole represented Kansas for 35 years in the U. S. Senate.
I met Senator Dole in July 1994 shortly after the death of my friend President Richard Nixon. He invited me and my wife Hattie to his Capitol Hill office after he had read my column written in the Washington Post relating to my experiences as a caddy for then Vice-President Nixon. While in high school I caddied at the Burning Golf Course in Bethesda, Maryland on the weekends to help my single parent mom make ends meet.
In 1957, I met and caddied for Vice-President Nixon and his friend Attorney General William Rogers. The friendship blossomed and in 1969 it would land me a Presidential appointment. Senator Dole was so impressed with my column relating to that experience with President Nixon, he entered it into the Congressional Record on the House Floor. This was my second entry into the Congressional Record. Congressman Lou Stokes (D-Ohio) would honor me first in 1978. He had read a column written by Washington Star sports columnist J. D. Beathea relating to my work in the inner-city with at-risk kids and youth gangs.
Bucket List: February 2017 visit to the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California
In 2007, Senator Dole invited me to be his special guest for a gathering of former Nixon’s staffers, the sponsoring group called themselves “The February Group.” The evening was unforgettable. I was lost for words when Senator Dole invited me to say a few words and re-live that golf course experience. The President’s daughter Tricia Nixon was standing nearby.
My success as a MAN and youth advocate is a result of my learning early in life that every black face I saw was not my brother and every white face I saw was not my enemy. And there was no requirement I had to kiss someone’s ring or their jackass on either side of the aisle to get along with them. In 1957, it was a chance encounter with Richard Nixon and William Rogers at the all-white exclusive Burning Tree Golf Course in Maryland and that chance encounter inspired me to be all that I could be. Fifty-years later Senator Dole reads my name on the House Floor honoring me in the Congressional Record. Look closely and you will see both black and white politicians reaching out across the aisle with no strings attached and giving me a helping hand to enhance the growth of our children via Kids In Trouble, Inc and not once asking me if I was Republican or Democrat.
Congressman Lou Stokes (D-Ohio) Jim Brown (NFL) HBell on “The Hill”
Senator Larry Womble (D-NC) Congressman Walter Fauntroy (D-DC) KIT tribute
In December 1985, Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) assigned his office staff as Santa’s Helpers to work with our non-profit organization for our annual Kids In Trouble toy party for needy children (see thank you note below). Yes, a hero is more than a sandwich.