Thanks to Paula Faulkner for providing this report on our Rick Upchurch meeting in December.
Board member Tom Jacobsen introduced Rick Upchurch, the guest speaker for the evening, as a 4 time Pro Bowl player, 5 time NFL All Pro player, 70s-80s NFL All Team and Denver Broncos Ring of Fame member. Additionally, Rick Upchurch is a person of quality and character – a person you should know.
Rick started out by introducing his beautiful wife, Donna, whom he describes as his hero, best friend, and who keeps him out of trouble.
Then Rick thanked everybody as fans for being Bronco enthusiasts and loyalists. Thank you to all fans for backing us (the Broncos team) up.
When Rick was first drafted from the University of Minnesota and was told he would be going to the Mile High City his first thought was “Where is that?”. Tony Dungy was QB for UMinn actually got a map to see where Denver was. He flew in, saw those mountains, saw how beautiful everything was and knew God knew what he was doing to have Denver draft him.
He also was impressed by the leadership of the Broncos at the time. Lyle Alzado, Billy Thompson, Tom Jackson and Rueben Carter to name a few. The first game he was standing next to Floyd Little. “Wow, I’m in the national football league.”
He was back up to Haven Moses who gets injured. In this game he gained 284 yards – a record by a rookie in a debut game that stands today. Fright is inspirational. He ran scared the whole game. Average 35 yards/carry.
After the games he enjoyed hanging out with the fans at the RVs in the parking lot. He encourages the young players to take time with the fans. Sign eery autograph, take the time to talk with them. They are the 12th man.
Rick admits the game is changed because of injuries and concussion awareness. He is working on a clinic free for players to get treatment. The families are suffering. They don’t know their kids. Tony Dorsett is not the same. But he spent time with the fans. The game is better. Showing kids how to tackle and how to do it right. So they don’t suffer later.
Five years ago Rick was diagnosed with CML, Chronic Myeloid Leukemia. He has been in remission for 4 years. He credits his outlook to the “Boss Man”, his wife Donna. She says get your butt up and out of the house.
Donna makes blankets and they take them to kids taking chemo. They distribute through Ronald McDonald and Childrens’ Hospital. They setup an organization called GC – Got you Covered 365. The blankets serve to wrap them up to stay warm during chemo, for the kids to feel secure and that somebody cares.
Then Rick spoke from his heart. As a society our core values are gone, he says. People have money and power and give up the core values that we should teach our kids. Rick states he doesn’t care about football or any of that stuff. What kind of role models are we to our kids?
“Rick Upchurch is the real deal. So inspiring a speech,” said one of our members.
Gary Fernandez, a Board Member, presented to Rick two framed photos of Rick and his daughter taken at an earlier event. Rick boasted his daughter has graduated from CSU in Animal Science. Very proud father indeed.
As Rick stated in closing, “Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
Written by Paula Faulkner, DBQC Board