Last night, Panthers’ linebacker Thomas Davis received one of the league’s highest honors when he was named Walter Payton Man of the Year. The award recognizes one deserving player for his contribution to the community as well as on the field.
“I mean, just being here tonight is something that’s positive for me. Just knowing where all I’ve come from. Sitting there looking at the video, seeing my hometown and seeing all the stuff that I’ve been able to overcome throughout my career. I’m just excited to stand before you guys tonight,” an emotional Davis said as he accepted the award.
Through is Defending Dreams Foundation, Thomas and his wife Kelly have encouraged more that 2,000 students to develop life skills that will help them become future leaders.
Every year Davis provides two college scholarships for graduating high school seniors who have completed the Youth Leadership Academy program. Through TDDDF, Davis also hosts annual programs including a back-to-school supply giveaway, a Thanksgiving meal for members of a local women’s shelter and a Christmas gift giveaway for underprivileged children in Charlotte, North Carolina, parts of South Carolina and in his hometown in Georgia.
As a recipient of the award, Davis received a $50,000 donation to his charity from Nationwide.