Mack and Sally Brown named Austin's Couple of the Year
May 11, 2012
Mack and Sally Brown were honored at the Tenth Annual NFL Alumni Caring for Kids Banquet on Thursday night for their continued commitment to children, and for their overall commitment to be a charitable force in central Texas. The Browns were honored as the NFL Alumni Austin's Couple of the Year.
"Sally and I go to a lot of charities, and I don't think we are at any charities [where] the NFL Alumni group is [not] there," said Mack Brown about receiving this recognition. "And I'm really, really proud of the guys in Austin and for them to ask Sally and I to come out tonight and for them to say `Thank you' to us, [but] really we should be saying `Thank you' to them, and that's what I plan on doing. For us to come out tonight and be honored by this group is really humbling for us, but it is exciting to be here."
The annual event was held at the Lakeway Resort and Spa and benefits the Center for Child Protection, a nationally accredited children's advocacy center. The event was attended by many former Longhorn and former NFL football players including Dan Neil, Donny Anderson, Britt Hager, Matt Anderson, Chris Duliban, Raul Allegre, Tony Franklin and John Haines. The event includes a golf tournament on Friday at the Lakeway resort. Sally Brown was unable to attend Thursday's dinner because of an illness, but during his speech Coach Brown assured the crowd that she was also very grateful and humbled by this honor.
The night began with a silent auction before dinner, then a live auction to raise funds for the Center for Child Protection and culminated with Brown's presentation and speech. The live auction alone raised more than $40,000 dollars for the center.
The annual event is just one of many that the NFL Alumni supports in the Austin area and most are for charities that involve children. Since the Browns have shown their dedication to children by their support of the Rise School of Austin (an early childhood education program that integrates children who have learning disabilites with their typically developing peers) and because of their efforts to help find a cure for Duchenne muscular dystropy, among their many charitable efforts, the NFL Alumni decided they were a perfect fit to be named Austin's Couple of the Year"
"We always make sure that we acknowledge some person that has made a difference in the lives of children in the Austin-Central Texas community, so this is what this event is about," said Raul Allegre, vice president of the NFL Alumni's Austin chapter and a former Longhorn kicker. "[Tonight] we recognize Mack and Sally Brown as our Couple of the Year.
"I know [Brown] is very busy with the football team and with all types of activities that a head coach has, but he always makes time to support charitable oranizations, like in this case the NFL Alumni. [Sally] is really the force behind the man and what she's done with the Rise School, the dedication that she's shown to that, to me, has made possible the little school that started pretty much from nothing, is now a school that is making a difference in our community."
The Center for Child Protection is for children in Travis County who are suspected victims of sexual abuse, serious physical abuse and for children who have witnessed a violent crime. The Center is a child-friendly, specially-equipped facility where children go for recorded forensic interviews, medical exams, counseling and intervention during the investigation and prosecution of child abuse cases. All services are provided to children and their protective caregivers at no charge.
Former Longhorn defensive back Ahmad Brooks, who emceed the event, has learned much from the Browns about the need to help those who can't always help themselves.
"When you start talking about children, people who can't always advocate for themselves, one thing I've learned from Coach Brown and Sally is that it is not okay for those people to not have a voice," said Brooks. "And if you are an adult and if you are a person of courage, then you need to go out and you need to do whatever you possibly can to allow them and to help them have a voice. And so they've done that, whether it's been Duchenne, whether is has been the school of Rise or whether it has been the Center for Child protection. They support children who are underserved and who need our help.
"They're genuine, they're humble, and this is just fitting for a couple that has done so much and led in this community in terms of giving back."
"Sally and I really want to give back to kids because that's the way we've made our living," said Brown. "We watch kids everyday and we see some that are more fortunate than others, and I'm so excited when I see athletes give back to children in need. And the Rise School has been a blessing for us to see how it's grown. Duchenne's has been a blessing to see the families smile and some of those families have kids that may not make it to 19 or 20 years old - young guys with muscle issues that are very, very severe. So we feel like as long as [we're] giving back to children, we can sleep well at night."
Because of the Browns' dedication and long-standing personal commitment to the Rise School, a plan to build a permanent 20,000 square foot facility was announced on August 26, 2011, and it will be called the "Sally and Mack Brown Rise School of Austin." The Browns also contribute privately to numerous other causes in Austin, and in April 2011, Brown was named the 2011 Lady Bird Johnson Humanitarian Award Winner by the American Red Cross.
In September 2008, Mack and Sally were named the Citizens of the Year for Caritas of Austin, which provides meals and aid for the homeless. The Browns themselves have spent many hours serving food at Caritas. Earlier in that year, The University of Texas honored Mack Brown with The Mack Brown Distinguished Chair for Leadership in Global Affairs. The Chair is part of the Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law, a university-wide global affairs research center named for renowned lawyer and public servant, Ambassador Robert S. Strauss. The center is part of the LBJ School of Public Affairs.
The Browns also serve as honorary co-chairpersons of the Capital Campaign for the Helping Hands of Austin, and in June 2007, Brown paired with Attorney General of Texas, Greg Abbott, to commend fathers who provide a nurturing home for their children, and asked dads from across the state to join in the fight against domestic abuse. In May 2009, Brown went on an eight-day trip to visit U.S. troops in Germany, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Djibouti and Spain as part of the Coaches Tour 2009. The Browns have previously endorsed a new Texas license plate, which was designed to raise public awareness for child abuse and neglect and the need for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) volunteers. After the Bonfire tragedy at Texas A&M in 1999, the couple initiated a blood drive on the UT campus that attracted more than 250 blood donors.