Back in 2009, I had a life changing experience when I traveled to Nigeria with four NFL players to shoot a feature for “NFL Films Presents.” Israel Idonije was one of those players. Four years later, I had another opportunity of a lifetime when I got to travel to the White House with Idonije as he was recognized by President Obama, President George Bush Sr., and Daily Points of Light for his work in the community.
Yesterday, the 5,000th Daily Points of Light Award was given out and Idonije, who was awarded the 4,853rd Daily POL award, was 1 of 27 awardees to be chosen to attend the event. When I asked him what it was like to be in a room with President Obama and President Bush Sr., he said it was great, but that he was truly excited to be around all of the other POL award winners. I should’ve expected this response from him. When we were in Nigeria, I vividly remember him telling me that he would be in the hospitals of Lagos Nigeria whether there were cameras there or not. Every year since 2009, he has done exactly that.
Idonije is a football player, but he also lives a life of service. His after-school program has touched thousands of children’s lives in Chicago. To learn more about Idonije and his efforts serving 3 different countries – United States, Nigeria, and Canada– tune into NFL Network’s “Total Access” and “NFL AM” next week.
-Shannon Furman, Producer