Leonard Pope gets recognition - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Leonard Pope gets recognition

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A hero can be explained as many things selfless, brave, caring, and a role model for others. And the city of Americus with out a doubt considers Kansas City Chief's Leonard Champ Pope Jr. their home town hero.

And All though big in stature. He has always had the heart to match.

Americus resident and Bryson James mother Anne Moore says "Just things that he did in the community he was already looked at as a hero and I think he was born a hero because his name's Champ".

Beyond his many efforts towards his home town, rebuilding a hospital from a tornado that tore through the city in 2007, hosting community wide events, sports camps and fundraisers, its his latest act that sets him apart.

On June 11, 2011 Pope rescued  six year-old Bryson James from drowning at a pool party while visiting family and if he hadn't spotted the boy at the bottom of a pool, little Bryson would probably not be here today.

"I would say just to try to continuously be a positive image to the kids in the community you know I've done a lot to try to help the people with the hospital when the tornado hit and even with my foundation the Champ foundation"

Today all of his efforts were celebrated as the Mayor's Office of Americus and Phoebe Sumter Hospital presented plaques of recognition for his selflessness and bravery, but Pope was most excited about seeing Bryson and his family again.

"You know its really kind of heart warming just to see Anne his mom and Bryson again and just to have open arms to those guys", says Pope.

Not only has the local community came to acknowledge Pope's actions but his story has landed him on the Oprah Winfrey Network program Extraordinary Heroes, but Pope says he doesn't deserve all the attention.

"Cause he's the star everyone tell me that I'm the star throughout the story but I say that he's the star and I really want Bryson as a chance to be able to learn."

Pope plans to incorporate a community program focused on swim lessons and safety, to encourage others to be prepared for any similar situation that may come.


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