Before I was born, Dad was an NFL wide receiver for the New York Giants. Not only was he a part of winning two Super Bowls but his experiences included traveling the world. Despite rubbing elbows with movie stars, dignitaries, and even the most powerful man in the worldthe president of the United States, he seldom talked about these monumental successes and experiences. Our home office, exhibits two replica Super Bowl trophies and a framed Super Bowl jersey showing Dad's number 81 and his name Robinson across the top shoulder hanging on the wall are the sole reminders of those glory days. Plaques and awards given to him for community volunteer work adorn the rest of the office walls, reminding Dad always stressing the importance of giving back to the community serving others. Dad's humility prevailed despite the inarguable and enviable successes he attained. This eluded my understanding, leading me to ask him one day, “Dad why don’t you have more memorabilia of when you played in the NFL displayed in the office?" His simple reply, explained, “Your mom put those up" meaning she decorated the room with both, the community service recognitions as well as the football stuff, showing once again he never is one to grandstand and “toot his own horn.” If it weren’t for my mother, none of his accolades would be displayed, and he would have been perfectly content with that.
My Dad passed away 17 months ago from multiple myeloma after the doctors told him there was nothing more to do but keep as comfortable as possible until the end. Hundreds of calls poured in from people voicing grateful thanks for the positive influence Dad had on his or her life. The volume of good wishes and gratitude proved daunting for the family so we directed the calls to a website. At the funeral, many people spoke including old teammates sharing warm memories of his infectious personality his generosity in their memories, almost to a fault. People offered anecdotes about his tireless interest listening to their problems and his sound advice. His joy was found not in fame and fortune, but in helping others giving freely expecting no reciprocation. Today my understanding of the importance of giving service to others comes from the example of Dad whose legacy I embrace. I give of myself because it matters to me and not because I want it to matter to others. I know my dad is looking down with approval.