BC Lions’ wide receiver has soft hands, big heart

Surrey resident Marco Iannuzzi honoured by CFL for selfless giving

South Surrey’s Marco Iannuzzi holds the Tom Pate Memorial Award

SURREY — Marco Iannuzzi may be a professional receiver, but nothing is more important to him than being a world-class giver.

“Any time I can connect with someone and know that I either helped them directly or helped someone important to them, it’s super special,” said Iannuzzi, a South Surrey resident and wide receiver for the BC Lions.

Iannuzzi recently received the CFL’s Tom Pate Memorial Award, which is given each year to the CFL player who best represents sportsmanship, dedication to the league and community service.

“It’s special to my family and me primarily because the sacrifice and time,” he said. “Every time I go to an event I am taken away from my family. To be recognized is not what I am doing it for, but to see the community recognize the sacrifice and time I’ve put in means a lot to me, my wife and kids.”

During his six years with the Lions, Iannuzzi has proven himself to be a huge proponent of giving back to the community through hospital visits, speaking to kids at schools or football practices and donating to various charities.

During the off-season, he says he often attends four to five events per week and during the football season, one or two.

He does a lot of work for Multiple Sclerosis (his mother has been diagnosed with MS), autism and BC Children’s Hospital, to name a few.

“I can’t even imagine some of the difficulties these families go through with their children,” he told the Now on his way for a visit to BC Children’s Hospital.

“I just get that feeling in my gut – that’s why I do all these events.

“That’s what keeps me going – and giving.”

His parents taught him to give at an early age and now, as a father of three, the Harvard grad is working hard to pass down these same attributes and values.

“We have a rule in our house that if you get something new, like a birthday gift, you have to donate something else to charity. At some of our birthdays, our kids, instead of gifts, ask for a toonie from each of the people that show up so they can put it towards a charity donation.”

As for the Lions, he expects big things for next season.

“We had a special squad this year, so it’s disappointing we didn’t go all the way,” Iannuzzi said. “But we did more than most thought we would so it was a good growth year for the organization.”

Iannuzzi joins Tyrone Crews (1986), Matt Dunigan (1989) Danny Barrett (1992), current director of community relations Jamie Taras (1999), Steve Hardin (2003) and defensive co-ordinator Mark Washington (2006) as members of the Lions to win the award.

beau.simpson@thenownewspaper.com

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey bus driver tests positive for COVID-19

Routes he drove have not been disclosed

Surrey mayor denies property tax deferral motion

Councillor’s notice of motion for Surrey property taxes to be deferred until Dec. 2 out of order

Team refunds OK’d for cancelled Surrey Mayor’s Cup soccer tournament

The decision follows the amalgamation of the Central City Breakers club with Surrey Football Club

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

B.C. secures motel, hotel rooms for COVID-19 shelter space

Community centres, rooms reserved for pandemic self-isolation

Most Read