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lamberts-lost-tooth
12-03-2006, 08:40 AM
Sunday, December 03, 2006
By Len Barcousky, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Although Hines Ward won't be playing today when the Steelers take on Tampa Bay, he'll still have a busy Sunday.

The injured wide receiver, who had knee surgery Monday, is playing host to eight biracial children visiting from South Korea.

"Christmas came early for me this weekend," a smiling Mr. Ward said as he greeted the children, ages 9 to 16, and the local families with whom they are staying during their time in southwestern Pennsylvania.

The children arrived yesterday afternoon at Pittsburgh International Airport. They had been scheduled to arrive Friday, but the last leg of their flight -- Chicago to Pittsburgh -- was delayed because of bad weather. They are to leave Tuesday.

The inaugural trips are sponsored by the Hines Ward Helping Hands Korea Foundation. Mr. Ward thanked the Steelers and Pearl S. Buck International, which supports inter-racial adoption and other programs to combat discrimination against children, for their help in arranging the visits.

Mr. Ward launched his foundation with a $1 million personal initial donation after he visited Asia earlier this year. Its goal is to improve the lives of Korean biracial children, who often face discrimination in what is a conservative and racially homogeneous society.

Mr. Ward was born in Korea to a Korean mother and an African-American father. While he grew up in the United States, he has described facing similar experiences.

Korea is a great country, he said, but would be a greater country if it overcame its racial prejudice. "Just look at these kids," he said, as his young visitors gathered around him. "They are gorgeous kids."

The children will be staying with Pittsburgh area families who have adopted children from Korea.

Jen and Dave Pursley, of McCandless, are parents to Ethan, 4, and Mia, 2. They greeted Ja Mi, a 16-year-old girl, and Kwan Woo, a 9-year-old boy, with hugs.

"Our house is going to be a lot busier," predicted Debbie Tomarakos, of Peters. She and her husband John are the parents of Nathaniel, 8; Ian, 4; and Hannah, 2, whom they adopted when she was 6 months old. They were there to greet Eun Na, 11, and Su An, 16. Mr. and Mrs. Tomarakos said they hoped the girls' visit would mark the start of a long-term relationship between their family and their Korean guests.

The children selected for these first visits took part in an essay contest in which they wrote about pursuing their dreams.

The children will attend today's Steelers game, and other events have been planned for them during their stay.

Growing up half black-half Korean, Mr. Ward has said he too often felt that he did not belong in either community. Some of the essays he read brought back personal memories of the kinds of prejudice children of mixed parentage face. "Hey, I've been there," he told his guests.

SteelCityMan786
12-03-2006, 08:41 AM
Classy Act. Welcome them in when you can't be at work.

polamalufan43
12-04-2006, 03:09 PM
I have to say that was very classy foe Hines and for all those families who took the kids in while they were here.

~Polamalufan43:tt02:

memphissteelergirl
12-04-2006, 03:45 PM
Hines Ward=Class Act! :tt02:

polamalufan43
12-04-2006, 05:03 PM
Hines Ward=Class Act! :tt02:

Now that's simple math that everyone can understand,:jammin:

~Polamalufan43:tt02:

SteelerFanInCA
12-04-2006, 05:34 PM
Hines is a great guy. You gotta love the way this guy gives back to the communinty. Hines is the man.

t-mill
12-04-2006, 06:25 PM
It's amazing how someone who already has so much repsect from a city... finds ways to earn more... he is the man...

NV STEELERS 723
12-04-2006, 07:08 PM
Hines is awesome...thats why I wear authentic #86