The San Francisco 49ers announced that Frank Marrero, founder and president of The Efrain Anthony Marrero Foundation, is the winner of the 2009 49ers Community Quarterback Award. In honor of his contributions to the community, the San Francisco 49ers Foundation and NFL Charities will present a $10,000 grant to Marrero for his organization at a team luncheon on Thursday, December 3, 2009 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Kingfish Restaurant in San Mateo. The luncheon will be hosted by former 49ers quarterback Steve Bono.
Marrero, a Vacaville resident, founded The Efrain Anthony Marrero Foundation (TEAM) in 2005, following the devastating loss of his oldest son, Efrain, who, at the age of 19, took his own life after a challenging battle with steroid use.
"We became aware of Efrain's steroid use three weeks before his death," says Marrero. "We had missed every sign – in fact we didn't even know what the signs were." After Efrain's death, Marrero and his wife, Brenda, decided to channel their grief into something positive. "The pain, the loss and the guilt were so overwhelming."
TEAM is dedicated to educating students, parents, teachers, coaches, athletic directors, and trainers about the devastating consequences of steroid abuse; fostering an environment where youth compete and are evaluated using their natural abilities; providing a nationwide network of resources for parents and children dealing with steroid abuse; and staying culturally relevant through education and awareness.
Marrero has dedicated more than 10,000 hours of volunteer service since founding TEAM, and has directly reached more than 50,000 people with his message. He has worked with President Obama's Council on Physical Fitness, helped support the passage of SB 37, requiring all California coaches to be certified regarding the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs, and is currently working with the United States Congress to reauthorize the Anabolic Steroid Act of 2004. He has also worked with the ATLAS & ATHENA anti-steroid program – a 49ers and NFL partner – to increase the reach of his message. Marrero's commitment to ensuring that his message reach as many people as possible led him to offer all of the materials, website information, and training documents in both English and Spanish.
The 49ers are also pleased to recognize the six Community Quarterback Award finalists, who will each receive a $1,000 grant for their non-profit organizations. The finalists include:
- Julie DeMaria, founder of Operation: Care and Comfort, a San Jose based volunteer organization dedicated to providing support and comfort to units of deployed United States military service members serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other conflict regions and their families.
- Robert Duey, a Castro Valley resident and president of the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of San Leandro. Duey has served on the Board since 1992 and has helped thousands of youth stay safe and on track.
- Marissa Mirbach, a 14-year-old, Los Altos Hills resident, and volunteer with InnVIsion, an organization dedicated to providing housing and services for homeless and at-risk families and individuals in Silicon Valley.
- Oral Lee Brown, an Oakland resident and founder of the Oral Lee Brown Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing low-income, disadvantaged youth with the support they need to chart a path towards college. During the past 21 years, 91% of the youth in her program have graduated from high school and 90% have enrolled in college.
- Jamie Tam, a Stanford University student and volunteer with the American Cancer Society. Tam serves as president of Stanford University Colleges Against Cancer Chapter (CAC), working to raise awareness, funds, and provide support to those with cancer.
- Tia Tonne, a Hayward resident and volunteer with Sunny Hills Services. Sunny Hills offers a continuum of housing, mental health, and independent living skills training and support to help foster youth transition from the foster care system.
The 49ers Community Quarterback program, as part of the NFL Charities Community Quarterback efforts, recognizes dedicated local individuals who devote their time to improving the lives of Bay Area residents. The program, in its ninth year, calls for nominations of Bay Area community volunteers who demonstrate leadership, dedications and a commitment to bettering their communities.
Nominations were due on October 16, 2009 and the five finalists and overall winner were chosen in November 2009. In addition to the grants, a trophy, and a recognition luncheon, the finalists and winner will also be acknowledged in an on-field presentation prior to the 49ers game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on November 29, 2009.