Malden Catholic (Mass.) High School senior Rudy Favard is a 17-year-old high schooler that has it all in perspective. Co-captain of his high school football team and an honor roll student, Favard seems like the type of kid that would make any parent proud.
But that's before you realize what else he does on a nightly basis. Aside from game planning for the opposition on the field and cramming for his next exam, Favard also spends time four nights a week with the Parker family.
You see, the Parkers have an 8-year-old son, Sammy, who has cerebral palsy. Until recently, Rick Parker, Sammy's father, would carry his son up the family's winding staircase every night to his bedroom. But a life-threatening heart condition meant he couldn't take Sammy up the stairs.
Enter Rudy Favard, who was asked by nurse Elizabeth Paquette at Malden Catholic if he wanted to lend a hand. As the Boston Globe noted, he was more than willing to help out in whatever way possible.
The nurse had barely begun telling Rudy about the Parkers before he said he'd help. Another boy would fill in for Rudy on game nights. And a third boy was on standby in case neither of the others could make it.
When Paquette brought the boys to meet the family for the first time, the Parkers cried.
"Just to see this outpouring of people,'' Rick Parker began, his eyes welling at the memory. "To see that these people were willing to put their hands and feet to what they believed. . .''
For those four nights a week, Favard makes the 10-minute trip over to the Parker's house, helps carry Sammy up the stairs, and then spends some time chatting with the family about football and life.
Sometimes it's hard to believe, after reading this story, that this kid is just 17 years old. He's obviously grounded beyond belief and has a bright future as a scholar athlete (he's already received football scholarships).
But it's his selflessness that makes Favard so unique. Not only does he do this with joy in his heart, he also does it in relative anonymity. Until the Globe published this article, most of the nation had no idea who Rudy Favard was, or what he did four nights a week.
Even when the article was being written on him, he still wanted Sammy to be the central figure in the piece.
"Can I ask you something?'' he said, sitting in the Parkers' living room
after Sammy was asleep. "Is it OK if this article is more about Sam than me?''
"He's done more for me than I've done for him,'' Rudy said. "There are times when I don't want to go to practice, and then I look at Sam. By God's grace, I can do what I'm doing, so I should keep it up. I've never been one to complain a lot, but just seeing Sam reaffirms everything, you know?''
Favard probably isn't the only high school athlete doing something like this around the country, but he is still one to look at as a role model for future and current high school athletes.
He goes above and beyond in his daily duties and gives more of himself than is even necessary, a blueprint for life we could all do well to follow.