by Marc and Julie Anderson
OVERLAND PARK — LIV-ing in victory.
That was the Super Bowl-related theme of Kansans for Life’s annual Valentine’s Day banquet, held at the Overland Park Convention Center on Feb. 11. A sold-out crowd of nearly 1,200 attended the event.
Just off that massive Super Bowl win was master of ceremonies Lamar Hunt Jr. — one of the co-owners of the Kansas City Chiefs.
But he wasn’t there to talk about the Super Bowl.
“I do not think it is a cliché,” he said, “to say we are in a life and death battle for the truth and authentic dignity of the human person. We need your full attention. You need to drop what you’re doing and join us.”
Likewise, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann, in his brief remarks, focused on the progress yet to be made on pro-life issues, both locally and nationally.
“I think we’re here tonight to kind of encourage each other, to support each other, to win this victory for the unborn,” he said, “and it’s this victory for the soul of our state and nation.”
As part of the evening, Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life and member of Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa, was honored by a brief video highlighting her involvement with the pro-life movement for more than 40 years.
The organization also honored former Kansas Sen. Mary Pilcher-Cook, a member of St. Joseph Parish in Shawnee, for her efforts to found the Kansas Midwest Stem Cell Therapy Center.
“I am so humbled by this award, so appreciative,” she said, fighting back tears. “Kansans for Life has been in the fight and has helped me all along the way. Dr. [David] Prentice, he’s the one that deserves all the accolades. My family, my children, my husband — thank you to each and every one of you who has supported me by your encouraging words along the way. I couldn’t have done it without you.”
Tim Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner and former Denver Broncos quarterback, gave the keynote.
“It is such an honor to be here,” Tebow said, thanking the archbishop, the politicians and Culp for their work. Tebow also thanked Hunt for his courage in promoting the gospel of life.
“It really does mean a lot more than winning the Super Bowl,” he said. “One day, when you look back and people are talking about you, what are you going to be known for? Are you going to say Super Bowl, or we saved a lot of babies?”
“I thought it was everything,” Tebow said of the role sports played in his life until his first mission trip at age 15. On that trip, he met a boy named Sherwin whose legs and feet were backwards due to a birth defect.
The encounter made him realize that, although he had a passion for sports, they really weren’t that important. That day, Tebow said he knew it was his “dream and calling to fight for people that can’t fight for themselves.”
Today, in addition to playing minor league baseball for the New York Mets, Tebow is a college football analyst for ESPN, a bestselling author, motivational speaker and philanthropist.