Hall of Fame
Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities Hall of Fame Trip of a Lifetime Contest Winner Experiences Canton, OH Induction Festival
In his inspiring Hall of Fame Induction Speech, Emmitt Smith said, “When you claim your inner champion, you will learn to see, hear and feel differently than others. So what I most want to convey here is, never, never let others define you; you define yourself.” Prentice Richmond, the recent winner of the Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities Hall of Fame Trip of a Lifetime Contest has already claimed his inner champion and defined himself despite all odds.
A recent graduate of Lincoln High School in Dallas, Texas, Richmond, dreams of someday becoming not just a police officer, but Chief of Police for the city of Dallas, TX. This dream and his ability to articulate how he planned to attain his dream won Prentice an opportunity to experience the trip of a lifetime: travelling to Canton, Ohio as a special guest of Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities to watch Emmitt Smith’s Induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on August 7, 2010. He selected Officer Billy Middleton of the Dallas ISD police force as his guest. Office Middleton has been a mentor for Prentice over the years and serves as a father-figure and role model.
In conjunction with the Inaugural 2010 Emmitt Smith Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament to benefit Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities, an essay contest was held, inviting North Texas teens to answer the question, “My Lifetime Dream and How I Plan to Achieve It.” Ten finalists were selected and invited to an awards ceremony held at TPC Craig Ranch in McKinney, TX, where Prentice was announced as the winner. “I was so hyped and surprised. It was exciting to see all the people supporting me and the start of a relationship with the Smith Family,” said Prentice about his award.
In his winning essay, Prentice wrote that he “grew up in a low income neighborhood, facing obstacles on a daily basis. “ He struggled through elementary school with little support or encouragement from his parents so he made the decision to leave his negative home environment at the age of fifteen. He often slept on friends’ sofas and sometimes in his car for over three years until a generous philanthropist offered him a place to call home. He wanted a better life and those difficult experiences made him determined to pursue his dream of becoming Chief of Police. He excelled in school and volunteered as a Little League Basketball coach through Central Dallas Ministries for several years. When he received the Jr. NBA/WNBA Coach of the year Award, his community center program center manager recalls “he talked to the kids like he was 25-years-old, he had an amazing wisdom and coaching ability for a fourteen year old.” He also works as Director of the Dallas Police Athletic League, a youth crime prevention program that inspires young adults through sports.
Prentice’s experience in Canton, Ohio was a long way from inner city Dallas. His trip included attending the emotional Induction Ceremony at Fawcett Stadium, where seven football greats, including Emmitt Smith, Jerry Rice, John Randle, Dick LeBeau, Rickey Jackson, Russ Grimm and Floyd Little were inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Highlights of the event were the moving and motivational speeches by each inductee, exciting career highlight videos and a fireworks display. Prentice stated, ” It was a honor to see my role model be inducted. Hearing Emmitt speak about how he dreamed of playing football for the Dallas Cowboys and hearing how hard he worked to reach that dream, motivated me even more to be the Police Chief of Dallas.”
After the ceremony, Prentice attended a private VIP celebration, with Pat and Emmitt Smith, their family and friends. Other special guests included Jerry Jones, Michael Irvin, Troy Aikman, Eric Dickerson, Mark Stepnoski and Roger Staubach. “The after-party was great! Just to be able to meet with Emmitt’s family and friends. It was especially neat to meet Troy Aikman and so many other football legends, that I have watched since I was a kid.” Although a foot injury prevented Prentice from attending several of the events he was scheduled to experience, including touring the Hall of Fame and the Cowboys vs. Bengals football game, he says, “The trip to Canton and seeing Cleveland was incredible. Hanging out with Emmitt and his family, hearing the speeches by the Hall of Fame Inductees and the whole experience is something I will never forget!”
Prentice wrote in his essay that “achieving academically is the foundation for succeeding” and that he was able to earn good grades due to his perseverance and discipline. He explained his personal strategy of surrounding himself with positive role models and mentors and of using athletics as a means of motivation though rough times. Prentice will attend Texas A & M University- Commerce this fall, where he will continue to play football and major in Criminal Justice. His ultimate vision is to “influence the world for good.”
In his Hall of Fame induction speech Emmitt also said, “There’s a difference between merely having a dream and fulfilling a vision. Most people only dream.“ Prentice is not only dreaming, but fulfilling a vision and making Emmitt proud.
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Pat and Emmitt Smith Charities (PESC) is a 501(c)(3) public charity that creates educational experiences and enrichment opportunities for underserved children. Www.patandemmittsmithcharities.org
Contact: Kit Sawers, VP Community Affairs and Foundations
Phone: (972) 584-0534