Manny Ohonme, Sports Hero/Founder, Samaritans Feet
Dressed to the nines and barefoot on stage, Manny Ohonme, Sports Hero & Founder of Samaritans Feet’s stage presence is larger than life.
“I want to challenge you to keep risking and keep dreaming large because each one of us has what it takes to be the power of one.” He urges the crowd to get up, get out, and make a difference.
He grew up in a home where he didn’t have shoes. Missionaries came to Nigeria where he’s from, and he knew his life was about to change. “I was blessed that day. They had a basketball contest and the the prize for the contest was a pair of shoes.” He won that contest and with his brand new pair of shoes he felt as if he had been given a pile of gold. “Keep dreaming and keep dreaming big.” They told him.
Years later he found himself in North Dakota on basketball scholarship and it was there he finished his education with a Masters Degree. In 1995 he came to Charlotte as a product manager for a logistics & supply chain company.
His father’s passing brought him back to Nigeria some years later where he returned to the park where he first entered that basketball competition and he saw boys there that were just like he was.
In 2003 he left his company and his larger-than-life job, to found Samaritan’s Feet, a humanitarian organization that gives shoes to those in need. “It’s not just about shoes for the needy. It’s about preventing the 1,000,000 lives lost annually from soil-transmitted desease. One billion children will never ve able to afford shoes says the WHO. We want to be able to help 10,000,000 kids in the next 10 years.” He states.
Kids are losing their limbs and losing their lives because they have no shoes.
“The reason we are so successful has been focus, focus, and more focus.”
His emotional closing; “There is hurt and pain in our community. When your time is up on this Earth, how will you be remembered? Will anyone miss you?”