Bruce Named the Rams' Man of the Year
December 14, 2006
In the wake of the Isaac Bruce Foundation's birth, Bruce finds himself representing the Rams as their Walter Payton Man of the Year ? an annual recognition given to one player on each of the 32 NFL teams who best exemplifies the philanthropic spirit of Chicago Bears' Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton.
While Bruce has always been involved in the community, he chose to wait until his 13th season in the NFL before starting his own foundation.
Tiffani Wilson Burris, who runs the Isaac Bruce Foundation, said Bruce is a very passionate person who can't help but think through every decision he makes.
"He watched things other players had done, successes and failures, and took note of them," Wilson said. "He wanted to make sure he knew exactly what he wanted to accomplish to make the biggest impact before he made the life-long commitment that a foundation requires."
While Bruce has refused to slow down on the field, cruising through the ranks and making a name for himself amongst the all-time greats, he has done nothing but speed up off the field as his new foundation keeps him busier than ever.
The Isaac Bruce Foundation focuses its resources on health, wellness, nutrition, fitness and education.
"Isaac reaches out to youth and teaches them at an early age the importance of a healthy lifestyle," Wilson said. "In addition to his Foundation activities, Isaac has been involved with National City's breast cancer awareness campaign as well as the Salvation Army, Community Quarterback volunteer recognition program, Diversity Awareness Partnership, and served as the United Way chair for 2006."
Bruce likes to keep himself involved in a wide range of activities and annually hosts a free football clinic for kids in the St. Louis area which provides youth with the opportunity to work on their football skills, sportsmanship, and teamwork skills, while building self-esteem both on and off the field.
"I don't limit myself, I pretty much try to make myself available to anyone who is in need and I believe I can help them," Bruce said.
The Isaac Bruce Foundation is also teaming up with the Healthy Youth Partnership (HYP), a growing collaborative of more than 60 community organizations.
"The Healthy Youth Partnership is designed to be the one-stop shop for healthy activities, tips, resources, current research, and policy changes for all those committed to improving the health and wellness of youth and families in the Bi-State region," Wilson said. "Through the Partnership, the Isaac Bruce Foundation will be providing a snack room with healthy snacks at three participating schools as well as distribute healthy lifestyle tips to the students."
Bruce said he believes in everything he does and does it because it is for the betterment of his fellow man.
"What I do on the football field is bring entertainment to other people and give them a chance to get away from the daily grind and watch an exciting football game with exciting players," Bruce said. "What I do in the community is my service, it is who I am."
Wilson said Bruce also reads a lot and uses that knowledge rather than his fame and celebrity to get him where he is today and where he is going to be in the future.
With all of that reading one would naturally assume that Bruce would have developed quite a memory, but when asked to share some of his favorite memories in the community over the years, he couldn't pick one.
"Honestly… I just look forward to the next opportunity," Bruce said.
Even if Bruce couldn't pick out a favorite memory of his, Wilson had no problem recalling hers.
"I remember being at an appearance with him a couple of years ago and a young child walked up with his eyes really big and he handed Isaac the item that he wanted him to sign," Wilson said. "Isaac greeted him by name and asked how he was doing and the child looked at him completely shocked and said, 'How did you know my name?' Isaac responded, 'Didn't you come to another signing about two years ago? Why wouldn't I remember your name? You remembered mine, didn't you?' I think that pretty much sums up Isaac Bruce."
By Aaron Eidson, stlouisrams.com
For more information on the Isaac Bruce Foundation call 314-369-4074.