Packers Great Willie Davis To Receive Prestigious Award

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The Paralysis Project of America will honor former Green Bay Packer and Hall of Famer Willie Davis on Saturday with their annual Sports Legends Award.

"It's a very special award," Davis said. "It's as much recognized for the people who have been honored."

Those other honorees joining Davis in receiving the award at The Omni Hotel in Los Angeles include gymnastics' Bart Conner and Nadia Comaneci, swimming's Donna de Varona, volleyball's Karch Kiraly and horse racing's Alex Solis.

The selection committee represents an equally esteemed group. The Paralysis Project of America's Business and Sports Council includes former Sports Legends Award winners Roy Firestone, Jim Hill, Ann Meyers-Drysdale, Rafer Johnson, Joe Morgan, Bill Sharman, Mark Spitz, Gary Stevens, Al Unser, Jamaal Wilkes and John Wooden. Davis looks forward to meeting up with council head and former Brooklyn Dodgers pitcher Don Newcombe.

"(He's) been a big-time friend for a long time," Davis said.

A multimedia program with film footage of each honoree typically serves as a highlight of the evening. To depict scenes from the career of the five-time Pro Bowler and five-time NFL champion, Davis said they have combed through archived material from both the Packers and NFL Films.

"From that -- I understand they got quite a bit of stuff," Davis said.

Florence Henderson, who starred in "The Brady Bunch", will host the award ceremony, which is preceded by a silent auction of sports and entertainment memorabilia. Proceeds of the sold items will go toward spinal cord research.

Davis represents an appropriate choice for such a community-oriented award. Among other activities he served as president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Urban League and worked with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

"I've done a lot of things that speak to the heart of the community," Davis said.

Before leaving for Los Angeles, Davis will spend the rest of the week staying with Jerry Kramer and his family at his house in Vail, Colorado.

"I'm trying to get (Kramer) on the slopes," he said. "It was like old roommates all over again."

The weekend's festivities also will serve as a blast from the past as the ceremony honors his playing career from 1958 to 1969. Former Packers linebacker and teammate Dave Robinson will present Davis with the award.

"I'm just delighted to see and be a part of everything that's positive that's going down about the Packers," Davis said.

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