View Full Version : Maslowski wins Initiative Award

11-18-2004, 02:12 AM

Labor Department gives Chiefs' Maslowski Initiative award

With his soul patch, silver earring and shaved head, Chiefs linebacker Mike Maslowski may have looked out of place Wednesday at the buttoned-up U.S. Department of Labor.

But Maslowski has devoted much time and energy to providing opportunities for Kansas Citians with disabilities in recent years, and it was for those efforts that the hobbled athlete was at the Labor Department, honored as a winner of the department's New Freedom Initiative awards at a gala luncheon in Washington.

The awards are given annually to non-profits, businesses and individuals who help disabled Americans find opportunity in a society that too often seems closed to them.

They highlight President Bush's three-year-old executive order “designed to ensure that Americans with disabilities have full access to transportation, home ownership, education and employment opportunities so that the disabled can join the full community that they live in and hopefully will work in,” said Labor Secretary Elaine Chao.

Maslowski was recognized for his work with the Greater Kansas City Foundation for Citizens with Disabilities.

He is on the foundation's board of directors and is active in its Community Employment Program, which encourages local businesses to hire the disabled and encourages students with disabilities to continue their educations to get good jobs.

“If all they have is working at a convenience store or a fast-food restaurant, their dreams are dashed,” said Maslowski, who was using two metal crutches because of recent season-ending surgery. “They have dreams like you and I do, and they should have the opportunity to live them.”

Maslowski said his nephew Luke, who has a disability, inspired him.

Luke had a difficult time in school but found motivation and acceptance when he became his high school football team's equipment manager, Maslowski said.

“It changed his whole outlook on life and on school,” Maslowski said. “It was a tremendously uplifting experience for him.”

— Matt Stearns/The Star's Washington correspondent

Bob Dole
11-18-2004, 07:30 AM
Wasn't Maz's knee injury prior to the Houston game?

He was walking just fine without crutches the Monday after Houston.