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America's Way: A Life of Service-From @MuhammadAli to @theRock / #socialresponsibility #family #youth #AmericanQuilt

updated 2/10/16

Muhammad Ali is known as the greatest boxer of all time. He was a firebrand in his day and stood up for what he thought was right. Some of his decisions were incredibly unpopular with certain folks, such as his refusal to conscript in the armed forces and fight in Vietnam. A war that for the U.S. proved a tremendous expenditure in loss of sons and fathers for a victory that never materialized.

Muhammad Ali, a poet, fighter and civil rights leader refused to partake and was ostracized and imprisoned. None of this took away from him becoming the champion of the nation, in fact, it bolstered his platform as an independent-thinking American who was not afraid to stand up for what he believed in. The 'People's Champ' was stripped of his heavy-weight boxing title and lambasted for his un-Americanism. Nonetheless, he stood his ground.  

Do you stand your ground for someone else? Do you stand your ground for what is right? This man was at the top and was pushed down to the bottom in the eyes of some. In my eyes he went from the top of a mountain to the top of a better one in one fell swoop.

His dedication to humanity, to the rights of humans, to treating all fairly without regard to race, money, social status or educational attainment delivered a mighty blow to the entrenched establishment that ran America at that time.

In my english-speaking high school in Puerto Rico, I had the honor of meeting his daughter who came to talk and take questions. She brought one of his championship belts and spoke about the champion-mindset and equality amongst people. It left an impression on me. 

It is good to be inspired by each other. It is good to have champions that set the bar. Once the record was set for the fastest mile run by a human it began to be shattered constantly by others who marked it as the goal to beat. Muhammad Ali set the bar at the time for what it meant to be an American. The color of his skin, his profession and his religion of Islam were a far cry from the white, Judeo-Christian currents that ran the country at the time. 

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is 'The People's Champ.'

In our day, we have many champions, yet one stands out in his ability to reach the hearts of many. His family is filled with active military, veterans and more than one Navy Seal. His profession as an actor has been one of picking roles that champion physical strength as much as moral strength. A father and a man's man, he is about service unto others.  He leads the Dwayne Johnson Rock Foundation which supports hospitalized children in recovery from medical conditions, as well as children with educational challenges and obesity. He also supports the strengthening of American families from the bottom-up as a director for The Beacon Experience, which focuses on helping get kids to continue their education beyond high school through supplemental course work, mentoring and integrating the parents role more efficiently into the success of the child. 

When he is not taking care of business on the silver screen, 'The Rock' continues to put his shoulder to the plow through a host of other organizations and causes, including bringing awareness and action towards a cure for Parkinson's, AIDS and his work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Mr. Johnson is not just a 'Rock' on-screen,  but off-screen as well then. His commitment to the local and national community by helping disadvantaged youth in urban areas have access to the arts, a solid education and a strong family home all serve to strengthen our American quilt. He is admired, loved and respected. As a father myself, I love to hear about how other fathers care for their children. 'The Rock'  is one of these men. He is a knight looking to uphold what is right. His children and all the youth who look up to him are watching his every move and this places great responsibility of character on his shoulders. 

It is a good thing he keeps his shoulders strong then for the work to be done in America is great. We need great men and great women to join in with putting their shoulder to the plow in service, just like our brothers and sisters have done and do every day in the field of combat to uphold our free way of life. 

His humility and service to others makes Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson #HotterThanFireForOthers.

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