On Tuesday, April 11, the New Orleans Recreation Development (NORD) Foundation held its first inaugural Champions Gala honoring longtime supporters, Jerome Smith and Peyton Manning. The gala was held at the Jill H. and Avram A. Glazer Family Club at Tulane University’s Yulman Stadium.

The informal event was also an opportunity to highlight progress made by the New Orleans Recreation Development Commission since the private-public partnership was established in 2010 while also honoring NORD community supporters and volunteers.

The “Unsung Hero” award went to Jerome Smith, a Freedom Rider, community activist and longtime NORDC volunteer who advocates tirelessly for children. Smith shared the evening’s honors with NFL quarterback, Peyton Manning, who played NORD baseball before he became a football star. Peyton was recognized as the NORD Foundation’s first “Legacy Tribute” recipient.