Foreman reaches out to veterans
Boxing legend George Foreman is known to the world as a two-time World Heavyweight Champion. He’s also known as an entrepreneur, philanthropist and ordained minister. For Foreman, however, there is still room to do more.
The Cougar: How did the launch of Operation Liberty come about?
George Foreman: It’s been my wish forever to do something to show my appreciation, not only to the men and women who serve in the armed forces, but for the country. I didn’t get a chance to serve, and I could never repay that debt and give back for what I didn’t do. They did, and it’s like an extension of me as long as I keep that in mind.
TC: What is the overall purpose of Operation Liberty? What do you want these students to take from their time with you?
GF: The old saying is “The cream rises to the top.” Some of us were rising to the top while they were serving. They were in the trenches. Those of us who didn’t serve got it easy, now we know that we should be closer to them. If they can leave knowing and saying, “Hey George is close to us, George cares,” that’s all I want.
TC: What makes you so passionate about reaching out to veteran students?
GF: I graduated from the Job Corps and those who ran the program at that time were World War II veterans. Those guys gave me everything. They’re the ones who told me “clean yourself up, pick up your pants,” and gave instructions on appreciating my country. My plan since then has always been to give back — not with things — but the advice I received from them and continue to give it. That’s the overall plan, and I have never walked away from it.
TC: On Thursday nights, veteran students will be able to hang out with George Foreman and watch some football. What should they expect?
GF: I look forward to these Thursday evenings. A watch party with football, food and camaraderie solely for the veterans, and they’re students too. Most importantly, I’m looking at them as students, but I can’t forget the debt they paid. I look forward to meeting and actually bonding with them on Thursdays and more of them all the time.