The 49ers honored some quarterbacks Thursday afternoon, but the people being recognized haven't led any touchdown drives lately.
In fact most of them have never even played organized football.
However, the impact of these award winners stretches far beyond the gridiron and truly makes the world a better place.
The individuals honored were the winner and finalists of 49ers Community Quarterback Award, an annual honor presented to dedicated local individuals who devote their time to improving the lives of Bay Area residents.
"All these people here have given back so much to the Bay Area and it is nice to give them the recognition they deserve," said former 49ers quarterback Steve Bono, who hosted the celebratory luncheon held at Kingfish Restaurant in San Mateo. "It is neat to meet people who are so selfless and have impacted others in such a positive way."
The winner of the 2009 Community Quarterback Award was Frank Marrero, founder of The Efrain Anthony Marrero Foundation (TEAM). Marrero received a $10,000 grant for his charity presented by the San Francisco 49ers Foundation and NFL Charities.
here were also six other finalists in attendance who received $1,000 grants for their organizations.
TEAM is an organization dedicated to educating students, parents, teachers, coaches, athletic directors and trainers about the devastating consequences of steroid use. Marrero founded TEAM in 2005 following the loss of his oldest son, Efrain, who at 19-years-old took his own life after a challenging battle with steroid use.
"Efrain was a football player and was pressured from his teammates to take steroids," said Marrero, a Vacaville resident. "He came to my wife and I and told us he was taking steroids and that he was afraid about what was happening to him.
"We told him to quit and he said he would. He saw a doctor and we thought everything would be okay. Unfortunately, about three weeks later, he committed suicide… We created the foundation to carry on his legacy and honor his life."
Since founding TEAM, Marrero has dedicated more than 10,000 service hours and has directly spread his message to more than 50,000 people. He has worked with President Obama's Council on Physical Fitness, helped the passage of Senate Bill 37, requiring all California coaches to be certifies 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.
"We want kids to know there are better, safer ways to get where they want to be than through the use of steroids and performance-enhancing drugs," Marrero said. "We have information that our son shared with us about how dangerous these things are and we want to share that information with everybody else."
Finalists who won the $1,000 grants were:
- 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 in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other conflict regions. OCC packs and ships care packages to adopted military units every month until they come home.
- 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 is a tireless advocate for the services that are provided to more than 1,400 boys and girls daily. When the Board is faced with a tough decision, he is often "the voice of reason."
- 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. Marissa selflessly began helping others at age seven and has recruited friends and family to partake in community service as well.
- 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. Over the past 21 years, 91-percent of the youth in her program have graduated from high school and 90-percent have enrolled in college.
- Jamie Tam, a Stanford University student and volunteer with the American Cancer Society. Tam is serving her second teram as president of Stanford University's Colleges Against Cancer (CAC) chapter, working to raise awareness, funds and provide support to those with cancer. Under Tam's watch, Stanford's CAC has won several national awards.
- Tia Tonne, a Hayward resident and volunteer with Sunny Hills Services, a group home program that serves youth who have been removed from their biological families after suffering abuse, neglect or abandonment. Tonne shares the youth's perspective having grown up in foster care herself. She also volunteers at the California Youth Connection.