Ozzie Guillen: gone but not forgotten

All the baseball playoff games over the weekend got me thinking. How would I define the word “champion”?

A champion is the one who takes risks to get to the top of their sport or game. A champion also is the one who gives back to those who are less fortunate in this world. Ozzie Guillen is all of that. He is a champion on the field and off. He guided the Chicago White Sox to a World Series championship in 2005 and touched the lives of many individuals with autism here at Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago.

When the news broke last week that Ozzie was not returning for the 2012 season with the White Sox, a lot of things went through my mind. How in the world would a classy guy like Ozzie not return to the Sox for one more season, just to fulfill his contract? What will Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago be like without his presence at events?

Even though his resignation from the White Sox is not what I hoped for, I hope it is what’s best for Ozzie and the city of Chicago. Ozzie has supported Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago on numerous occasions. He came to Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago’s Therapeutic School and Center for Autism Research when we dedicated a softball field for the students bearing the White Sox name. That was when we got a first glimpse of Ozzie, and right there, he vowed to be a part of the Easter Seals organization. He was true to his word, serving as a board member and spokesperson for our autism program. He was also there for other Easter Seals events — he was there for the Festival of Trees and also collaborated with Hollywood actor Joe Mantegna on some occasions. For the past three years, he has reached out to many individuals with autism and we can’t thank him enough for his efforts during his time with us.

Ozzie may be gone from the Chicago spotlight, but will never be forgotten. While the rest of Chicago will remember him mostly for his play on and off the field, I will remember him as a humanitarian and urge him to continue doing what he does best: be a champion for Easter Seals!


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