Ben Watson to Receive AIA Call to Courage Award March 24

The 11th Annual Call to Courage Awards Breakfast will be held on Saturday, March 24, 2012, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Buffalo, NY, from 9AM to 11AM. This high profile sports breakfast is sponsored by the Buffalo Pro Ministry of Athletes in Action. Every spring for the past ten years, former Buffalo Bills quarterback, Frank Reich, who engineered the “Greatest Comeback in NFL History”, hosts this outstanding community sports breakfast event.

Reich will present the 2012 Call to Courage Award to Cleveland Browns Tight End and former Super Bowl Champion while with the New England Patriots, Ben Watson. He played his collegiate ball at Duke University prior to transferring to the University of Georgia. While at Duke, Watson was coached by Buffalo Bill Hall of Famer, Joe DeLamielleure. Watson was the number one draft pick of the Patriots in 2004.

Special speaker at this year’s event will be former Ohio State Head Football Coach Jim Tressel, who is currently the Vice President for Student Engagement for the University of Akron. During his tenure at Ohio State, Tressel's teams played in three BCS National Championship Games. His 2002 squad won a national title and achieved the first 14–0 season record in major college football since Penn went 15–0 in 1897. Tressel finished his career at Ohio State with an official overall record of 94–22 (.810), including six Big Ten Conference championships, a 5-4 bowl record, a 4–3 mark in BCS bowl games, and an 8–1 record against the arch-rival Michigan Wolverines. He is the only Ohio State head coach to win seven consecutive games against the Wolverines.

U. S. Army SGT Tommy Rieman from Kernersville, NC, will also be recognized at the Call To Courage Awards Breakfast. SGT Rieman was awarded the Silver Star in August 2004 for his bravery and valor during the War in Iraq in 2003. He was also in attendance during the State of the Union Address and officially recognized by President George W. Bush as a true “American Hero”. Rieman who has had an action figure made of him, was chosen as one of the faces of the U.S. Army's "America's Army: Real Heroes" program.

The honorary chairman for this year’s breakfast will be Buffalo Bills Receiver/Quarterback and Special Teams Ace, Brad Smith. “We are thrilled to have such an outstanding program in this our eleventh year with such wonderful individuals like Ben Watson, Coach Tressel and SGT Rieman” stated Reich.

The Call to Courage Award Breakfast held in Buffalo, is Reich’s way of thanking the Western New York community for the love and appreciation that was displayed to him and his family while he was a member of the Buffalo Bills during those great Super Bowl years.

Each year, Reich presents the Call to Courage Award to a current NFL player who has exemplified outstanding character, commitment and leadership on and off the field and in the community.

The Call to Courage Award Breakfast has featured some of the biggest names in sports over the past ten years. NFL stars like, Kurt Warner, Chad Pennington, Curtis Martin ,Don Davis, Bob Christian, Trent Dilfer, John Kasay, Jon Kitna, Heath Evans and London Fletcher are previous award winners.

In addition to the NFL winner of the Call to Courage Award, the High School Call to Courage Award will also be given to an outstanding member of a Western New York high school football team. Former Buffalo Bills great and CBS Sports Color Commentator Steve Tasker and WGRZ TV News Anchor, Jodi Johnston are this year’s MC’s.

The Call to Courage Awards Breakfast is open to the public. Tickets are $40 each and a table of ten is $350. For ticket information call 716-559-1800 or find us on FACEBOOK at aiabuffalo.