Memphis, Tennessee - Memphis Grizzlies forward Rudy Gay was presented with the Middlesex County Chamber of Commerce's "2012 Role Model of the Year" award on Friday, August 3. The award was presented by Chandler Howard, the Chamber's Chairman, during the organization's Role Model Member Breakfast Meeting.
In his six years with the Grizzlies, Gay has been an active member in the community and through the "Hoops for St. Jude" program, won the NBA Cares Community Assist Award in March of 2010 after helping to raise funds for St. Jude's Children's Hospital. Gay co-hosted the Staxtacular, a fundraiser that benefits the Stax Music Academy, for five consecutive years. He also hosted a holiday shopping spree at Target for three consecutive years which provides children from single parent homes in the Memphis community the opportunity to purchase toys and other gifts for Christmas. Gay hosted the 12th Annual SportsBall in August 2009 in Memphis, a black-tie affair benefiting the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Memphis. In February of 2009, Rudy took part in the Grizzlies Read to Achieve celebration at FedExForum which focused on the importance of reading.
"Rudy Gay is not only an outstanding professional basketball player, but more importantly, he gives so much back to the community," Chamber President Larry McHugh said of the former UCONN star. "We are proud to honor him with our Role Model of the Year Award."
In addition to being honored as the "2012 Role Model of the Year," August 3, 2012 was declared Rudy Gay Day in the State of Connecticut by Governor Dannel P. Malloy. Dan Drew, Mayor of Middletown, Connecticut, presented Gay with a key to the city and also recognized his outstanding achievements. The Connecticut General Assembly issued a Proclamation which congratulated Rudy for his achievements both on and off the court.
The event was attended by over 500 people including almost 100 kids from the various youth programs in Middlesex County, CT. Also at the event were University of Connecticut Men's Basketball Coach, and 2005 Basketball Hall of Fame inductee Jim Calhoun, and Assistant Coaches Kevin Ollie, Kevin Freeman, Glen Miller and Karl Hobbs
As Role Model of the Year, Rudy Gay joins a distinguished list of winners that includes Ray Allen of the Miami Heat, Emeka Okafor of the Washington Wizards, Caron Butler of the Los Angeles Clippers, former New York Liberty star Rebecca Lobo, Tina Charles of the WNBA's Connecticut Sun, former Dallas Cowboys star Roger Staubach, former New England Patriot Joe Andruzzi, former San Francisco 49er Chris Hetherington, former Houston Astros star Jeff Bagwell and PGA Golfer Peter Jacobsen.