Jimmy Collins Special Awards 2010What do an Academy Award-winning actress, a former PGA Tour golfer, a summer college-age baseball team and an unsung New Orleans press box institution have in common? All four – actress Sandra Bullock, golfer Kelly Gibson, All-American Amateur baseball champions New Orleans Boosters and legendary press box worker Harold Shelly – have merited Special Awards from the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee.
Since first adopting Warren Easton Charter High School in 2006 when the entire city was reeling from Hurricane Katrina, Bullock has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to the Mid-City school for items such as new band uniforms, athletic lockers, college scholarships, leadership seminars, and video and audio equipment. She also supplied partial funding for the renovation of the auditorium and the construction of the new on-campus health clinic.
“My contributions to Warren Easton are the best investments I’ve ever made,” said Bullock, who won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in “The Blind Side.”
Addressing Warren Easton seniors at their 2007 graduation, Bullock said, “You are the miracle that came out of Katrina. No one could have done it but you.”
Accepting the honor on her behalf was Arthur Hardy (pictured right).
Gibson, who has received the Charlie Bartlett Award for unselfish contributions to the betterment of society from the Golf Writers Association of America, has been a consultant in the revival of Joseph M. Bartholomew Golf Course in Pontchartrain Park, one of the first courses in the U.S. designed by an African-American.
“I take great pride in being from New Orleans, and I hope it shows in my passion for this restoration,” Gibson said. “We have accomplished many things in this city that most people thought would be impossible. My goal all along was to leverage my PGA Tour credentials to bring the best possible team to New Orleans and I feel that I have.”
The New Orleans Boosters
In August 2009, the New Orleans Boosters made history the hard way, rallying from the loser’s bracket to capture the franchise’s 13th All-American Amateur Baseball Association National Championship at the annual tournament in Johnstown, Pa. The Boosters are coordinated by Joe Scheuermann and managed by Billy Babin (pictured left with Sugar Bowl President David Melius).
In addition to the title, the New Orleans franchise also dominated the post-tournament awards. Centerfielder Lucas LeBlanc was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player and outfielder Scott Fabre earned the tournament’s Batting Champion Award. Shortstop Beau Boudreaux and infielder Mason Katz were named co-RBI champions.
If it is happening in New Orleans, and it is a sports event, Shelly must be there, volunteering his time, helping out however needed, and constantly exuding his very great love for the people who play, manage and cover the games. He may have been involved in more sports events on all levels than any other local sports figure.
A native of New Orleans, Shelly was born Nov. 25, 1922. Assisting with Tulane Athletics since 1955, he has also worked 45 Sugar Bowls, five Super Bowls, two Final Fours and numerous NCAA basketball regionals. He has made 18 trips to the All-American Amateur Baseball Tournament. Shelly has served as an usher for St. Matthias Church for 53 years.
Story submitted by Peter Finney, Jr., of the Greater New Orleans Sports Selection Committee.