Iba Awards Presented In Tulsa

Tuesday, June 16th 2009, 12:52 pm
By: News On 6

By Kyle Dierking, NewsOn6.com

TULSA, OK -- The annual Henry P. Iba Citizen Athlete Awards were presented on Monday evening.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was the male recipient, honored for his philanthropy in the city that was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina just a few years ago.

Brees' charity, "Operation Kids: Rebuilding Dreams" raises money for schools, parks and athletic fields in New Orleans.

"We feel very strongly about the city of New Orleans. We fell in love with the city from the moment my wife and I got there," Brees said. "We had an opportunity to not only help rebuild an organization, but a city, a region and to instill hope and a sense of pride for the people in New Orleans."

The female recipient was former Olympic weight lifter Melanie Roach, who was recognized for her advocacy for autism research. Her son, Drew, was diagnosed with the disease when he was two years old.

"To be a part of this and to know it's way more than being an athlete, it's about community effort and doing things to affect your community," Roach said. "I looked back at some of the recipients and it was so impressive."

Los Angeles Dodgers broadcaster Ross Porter was the emcee of the event and the keynote speaker was Oklahoma basketball coach Jeff Capel.