A Commitment to Community

02/03/13

Faircloth_BarryOn March 2, 2013 Wake Forest will retire the #3 jersey of Chris Paul.  It will be a celebration for Chris, the Paul Family, West Forsyth High School, Wake Forest University and the Triad Community.  Chris’s efforts to attend the ceremony and willingness to commit time to events surrounding the ceremony speak volumes to the type of person he is and character he embodies.

The Clippers will be coming off back-to-back away games in Indiana and Cleveland before Chris is set to arrive around 2 a.m. Saturday.  He will wake up early to host a CP3 Foundation Breakfast for the community before the noon game vs. Maryland.   His day will hopefully conclude with rolling the quad before departing on a red eye back to Los Angeles for a 12:30 game the next day against Oklahoma City… And you thought you had a busy schedule!

Chris Paul embodies the qualities that Wake Forest athletes, students and fans hold dear: integrity, intellect, passion and a competitive spirit, all while embracing a spirit of Pro Humanitate.  Chris Paul is as big a part of the Winston-Salem and Wake Forest community as we are of him.

I have had the privilege of serving on a planning committee with Chris’s parents Robin and Charles who are in charge of the CP3 Foundation, in addition to his brother and manager CJ Paul, and his Media Specialist Carmen Wilson.

In addition, we have various business and community leaders such as Don Flow of Flow Automotive, Mit Shah of Noble Investment Group, Heinz Little of Debbie’s Staffing and Wake Forest Spanish Professor Jenny Puckett who serve on the committee.  This group was assembled to help plan the CP3 Foundation Breakfast prior to the basketball game against Maryland with the following aims:

  1. Provide a lifetime experience for Chris Paul and his family during the events surrounding the retirement of his jersey
  2. Ignite excitement into the Wake Forest Basketball program by selling out LJVM and creating the energy and enthusiasm common during Chris’s playing days
  3. Create awareness for the CP3 Foundation and the contribution made to the Winston-Salem community and Wake Forest University
  4. Raise funds for the CP3 Foundation
  5. Further connect Chris to the Wake Forest, the Triad Community and the national sports media as the face of Wake Forest Basketball

Throughout the process it has been remarkable how the scale of and excitement surrounding this event continues to grow.  Corporations such as Lowe’s Home Improvement have stepped up for the title sponsorship and Wells Fargo, Flow Company and Noble Investment Group have also committed as major sponsors.  Everyone you talk with seems to have a fondness for Chris and his family and is happy to be associated with such a first class individual and organization.

During the game, Chris plans to present his final installment for a $750,000 endowed scholarship to Wake Forest that will be split 50% for a Basketball Player and 50% for a undergrad at West Forsyth High School who has financial need to attend Wake Forest.

The CP3 Foundation has been incredibly generous to the Winston-Salem community.  I was present recently at a Toys R Us initiative where Chris literally had multiple credit cards buying toys for many underprivileged kids.  The store was a zoo of activity with Chris and his family’s gracious efforts to not only give financially, but of their time, to so many kids.

Chris’s character was also recently demonstrated in the story of the West Forsyth High School student, Ryan Wood, whom Chris covered the cost of a Make-A-Wish trip for.  Chris was made aware of the situation by tweets from community members using the hashtag #Pray4Ryan.   Chris’s generosity in both situations show the impact Chris has continued to make in Winston-Salem, even while spending the majority of his time living in Los Angeles.

Chris always tries to spend some of his free time in Winston-Salem, however limited that may be.   The past two summers Chris has played on the World Championship Team and most recently represented the USA in the Olympics bringing home the gold medal; however, any spare summer time Chris has, he can be found in Summer School at Wake Forest pursuing his degree.

I can sum up the feelings from the Paul family by a question I recently asked his mother Robin Paul – “What has Wake Forest meant to your family?”  Robin replied, “We are so blessed to be associated with Wake Forest.  Wake Forest is big part of our family and represents some of our fondest memories.”

We look forward to honoring Chris and his family at the Men’s Basketball game vs. Maryland on March 2.  It will be a momentous day for the Winston-Salem Community.  Chris Paul’s jersey will forever hang from the rafters at the Joel and he will forever be connected with Wake Forest and the Winston-Salem Community.

Go Deacs and Go Clippers!

Barry Faircloth

 

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