St. Petersburg, FL (PRWEB) January 15, 2014
Since appearing as East-West Shrine Game All-Stars, Steve Atwater and Tony Berti demonstrated their strong commitment to teamwork as NFL standouts. They have also continued support of a different sort of team—Shriners Hospitals for Children. In recognition of their contributions to both football and community, the two men will be inducted to the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame on Saturday, January 18.
Atwater, a two-time Super Bowl Champion with the Denver Broncos, earned his 1989 East-West Shrine Game appearance as an All-Southwest Conference and All-American defensive back for the Arkansas Razorbacks. A first-round draft pick by Denver, Atwater’s 10-year NFL career resulted in being named to the 1990s NFL All-Decade Team.
“I am extremely honored to be inducted into the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame and I will make every effort to promote the organization and its heartwarming mission,” said Atwater. “I am incredibly fortunate to have taken part in the game and I am honored to carry the title of ‘Defensive MVP’ from the 1989 East-West Shrine Game.”
It was a sentiment affirmed by Berti, another NFL stalwart. “Induction into the East-West Shrine Game Hall of Fame is a great honor,” he said. “Participating in the 1995 game and having the opportunity to learn more about the Shriners fraternity and the mission of Shriners Hospitals for Children was a life-changing experience.”
Leading up to his 1995 East-West Shrine Game appearance, Berti had earned All-Big Eight and All-American honors as a left tackle for the University of Colorado. Drafted by the San Diego Chargers in 1995, he settled in with the team as starting right tackle. In 1999, Berti signed as a free agent with the Denver Broncos but two devastating shoulder injuries led to his retirement in 2000.
In 2003, Berti and his wife, Nikki, co-founded the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation (GTSF), a nonprofit organization that provides disadvantaged children with new shoes and socks. In 2012, Berti left a successful real estate career to take over as GTSF’s director of strategic operations. Today, the nationally-recognized and award-winning foundation annually aids about 10,000 children in Southern Nevada.
Since 2009, GTSF has partnered with The Shriners Hospitals for Children to sponsor the annual Rockin’ Walk fund-raiser. “It is extremely rewarding to have the ability to refer children in need of orthopaedic care to Shriners Hospitals for Children through our foundation,” said Berti. “As an athlete, I became extremely humbled by the patients of Shriners Hospitals and am incredibly thankful for the continued opportunity to work with this great organization.”
Atwater has also continued his support of Shriners Hospitals for Children, and attends the Shriners Celebrity Golf Classic each year. He also returned to the East-West Shrine Game as an assistant coach for the 2011 contest. “I truly consider myself an ambassador for the game,” Atwater said. “Witnessing the impact the Shriners and Shriners Hospitals for Children have on kids is amazing and I am proud to be part of the mission.”