Opal Lee Among North Texans Honored With 2023 NCAA Legends and Legacy Community Award

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The Women's NCAA Tournament is in town this week, but taking center court Wednesday night were the NCAA Legends and Legacy Community Award honorees who include the grandmother of Juneteenth and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Opal Lee.

"It's humbling. You know that, don't you?” Lee said. “It's just delightful that people are beginning to listen. You know, I started off walking from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C." 

The award recognizes local community builders making a difference in and around their cities.

Leaders like Nick Marino Jr. founder of Tango Charities. More than 6 million meals have been served by 90,000 volunteers. He says this award is for them.

"I feel like this isn't an award for myself,” Marino said. “It's an award for every single person that has given up that time to make an impact in their community by putting food on the table for those that are in need."

The evening is about celebrating all their work, be it in sports, like Acheil Tac who is a former UNT basketball player serving as a mentor and speaker for women in sports.

Or education, like Byron Sanders, the founder of the organization Big Thought which is closing the opportunity gaps to empower youth.

(l-r) Nick Marino, Jr. founder of Tango Charities, Achiel Tac former UNT basketball player, Dr. Opal Lee, grandmother of Juneteenth, Byron Sanders founder of Big Thought

It's all important work that has landed these community leaders the title of legends.

"Anything with the word 'legend' in it feels -- I feel unworthy,” Sanders said. “I'm just so blessed that somebody out there thought enough of what I've been fortunate to do in serving my community and putting my name in the hat."

They all are inspired to continue doing their good deeds.

"I tell you, there's work to be done,” Lee said. We can't sit on our laurels."

To learn more about the awardees and their work click here.

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