By Joe Platania
The yearly three-day gathering featured the usual Monday morning tour of the St. Vincent's Villa Courage House in Timonium as well as an afternoon visit to the Chick Webb Recreation Center in Baltimore City before culminating at the banquet.
Once the event began, the Foundation saw its Courage Network of housing assistance for children in need grow by two when Kansas City Chiefs punter Dustin Colquitt committed to establishing a Courage House in that city. Not to be outdone, his brother, Britton, made a pledge toward doing the same in Denver.
Once those facilities are opened, most likely within two years, the total number of Courage Houses will be 23. The Foundation's goal is to open a Courage House in all 32 cities where NFL teams currently play.
The newest Courage House to begin operations is in Philadelphia, a city that had quite a presence at this year's event.
Besides the new facilities, Eagles offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg accepted his NFL Assistant Coach of the Year Award from Pro Football Weekly magazine. Not only that, the Eagles' training staff was named the league's best in 2010, and several of the Eagles' cheerleaders also made the 90-mile southbound trip.
PressBox senior editorial advisor and former Baltimore Evening Sun assistant sports editor Larry Harris also received special recognition for his longtime association with the Foundation. It was Harris' idea to name the Courage Award after Block, a Baltimore Colts trainer for nearly a quarter-century who helped abused and handicapped children in need for many years.
As with every other team, the Ravens' players voted among themselves last November to elect a representative, which this year turned out to be wideout Donte' Stallworth. Coming back from a year-long suspension after killing a pedestrian while driving drunk, Stallworth was an overwhelming choice, but an illness prevented him from being at Martin's West.
On short notice, Upper Marlboro native and former University of Maryland standout Josh Wilson -- who single-handedly saved the Ravens' season with an overtime interception-return score at Houston last year -- filled in for Stallworth.
Even though Wilson was not the team's Block winner, he did become the sixth-straight Baltimore defensive back actually to be at the gala.
"(Stallworth) gained so much respect because he was able to be honest with us," Wilson said before the gala began. "Just opening up to us to say what actually happened (with the fatal accident), he said that he didn't want us to have the wrong view of him or the type of person that he is. He respected us enough to share that embarrassing moment with us."
Issue 159: March 2011