Monday, October 6, 2008

Former Blazer Helping Kids Get in Shape!

I found this story while researching the upcoming Portland Trailblazer season. It's so good to find some of the great old Blazers from the past still in our community doing good things!

On September 19th, Trail Blazers Ambassador Jerome Kersey, along with members from the PEAK Coalition (Physical Education for All Kids), testified before Oregon’s Joint Ways and Means Committee to secure additional funding for the PE grant bill established last session by HB 3141. The bill is aimed at providing equal opportunities for schools across the state with the resources and training they need to provide evidence-based PE instruction to all Oregonian kids.

Kersey was joined by Oregon State Senate President Peter Courtney and Isabella Acosta Barna, a youth advocate and member of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board, in providing testimony to support the critical need for physical education for kids. “As an athlete and as a father I can attest to the significant life experiences afforded to me and my daughter through sports and physical education,” said Kersey. “I know firsthand the correlation between being physically fit and the ability to perform in other areas of your life, most importantly education, at a high level.”

The results of recent studies regarding childhood obesity in Oregon were what brought Kersey to take a stand. 25 percent of Oregon’s 8th graders are overweight or at risk for becoming overweight and this number has been increasing. The rise in childhood obesity is partly due to the fact that physical education is no longer a mandatory part of the school day. Lack of PE not only leads to overweight, unhealthy children, but also makes children less ready to learn in the classroom. The cost of obesity is alarming: $781 million was spent in Oregon in 2003 on obesity-related medical costs.

Members of the House and Senate were present to hear Kersey’s testimony including Portland-area Senators Margaret Carter and Avel Gordly. “Jerome, you introduced yourself as an ambassador for the Portland Trail Blazers,” Gordly said in closing comments. “I’m sure I speak on behalf of everyone here in saying you are indeed an ambassador on behalf of the entire state of Oregon and we thank you for your years of dedication to service to our state’s children.”


Tammy Bowers said...

I have a funny little story about Jerome Kersey, although it might only be funny to of those 'had to be there' to appreciate the moment.

Anyway, during the high part of his career, I met Jerome in an elevator in Portland. The doors opened, I stepped in, and there he was. My friend, Jerilyn was with me. I said, "Well, hello there. You’re one of my favorite players. I love watching your games." (Thanks to company seats, I attended lots of games back then.) Anyway, he said thanks and chatted back. He was very friendly. I then asked for his autograph. He stepped of the elevator on OUR floor, asked if I had a pen, then as he signed his name, my friend Jerilyn said, "I'd ask too, but I'm not into sports. I'm into gardening." He and I both just slowly turned our heads to look at her. Neither one of us said a word. He looked back down, finished signing, handed me the paper and said. "Thanks for coming to our games." He got back in the elevator and continued onto his destination. When the doors closed behind him, I zipped around to Jerilyn, "I'm into gardening????" I smacked her. She then confessed that she didn't know who he was because I never said his name when we were talking.

Anyway, Jerome was polite and tactful. He was a good guy even back then.

Bill's Waste of Air said...

That's a great story Tammy!
I have one too!
When I was at KQEN in Roseburg in 1987, Jerome was of course a Blazer and he was "required" to do a tour of the affiliate stations, mine included.
One morning a bright red Porsche shows up and a huge man unfolds from the car, it was Jerome Kersey all by himself!
I was doing my morning show and he wanted to be on with me.
Well, that was cool and even better he just wanted to hang out.
So, I showed him all of our music, which was on carts back then and told him to choose any he wanted and he would be the deejay.
He picked all the R&B songs and the few rap songs we played at that time, and I just let him talk and have fun.
We didn't really do an "interview" although I asked a lot of questions, but I told him I wouldn't ask any sports related questions. I asked him about the girls in Portland, what the dating scene was like, how living there was, etc. No sports.
He LOVED it!
Afterwards, he told me it was the most fun radio thing he had ever done.
I have a picture somewhere of he and I standing by the car outside the station. If I had a scanner I would put it up.
Anyway, I saw Jerome many times over the years and he always remembers me! He is a great guy!