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

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

Hugh Dobbie’s South Surrey-based tech business Yare Media was recently acquired by California’s Visaic Inc. (SFU photo)
South Surrey tech company acquired by California business

Hugh Dobbie founded Yare Media in 2016, and ‘will remain involved’

Fraser Health has declared a COVID-19 outbreak at Newton Elementary School in Surrey, according to an information bulletin Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. (Image: Google Street View)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at second Surrey elementary school

Newton Elementary closed for two weeks, set to reopen Dec. 14

Joy Johnson, seen here during an installation ceremony on Oct. 22, is Simon Fraser University’s 10th president and vice-chancellor. (Submitted photo)
SFU’s Surrey campus tackling COVID-19-related research

‘We can learn now,’ SFU president Joy Johnson said, ‘so should something like this happen again we’ll be prepared. We have to learn from this current pandemic’

Mayor Darryl Walker gives a welcoming hug to Semiahmoo First Nation Chief Harley Chappell at the inaugural meeting of the current White Rock council in 2018. (Alex Browne photo)
White Rock council under fire for inaugural prayer

BC Humanist Association charges city violated Supreme Court ruling two years ago

Chief Robert Gladstone of Shxwha:y Village at a federal flood funding announcement April 24, 2019. (Jenna Hauck/Chilliwack Progress file)
Consortium of Indigenous chiefs seeking a way to participate in cannabis economy

All Nations Chiefs from the Shxwha:y, Cheam, Soowahlie and Sq’ewlets holding online forum Dec. 2

A woman wears a protective face covering to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as she walks along the seawall in North Vancouver Wednesday, November 25, 2020.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
911 new COVID-19 cases, 11 deaths as B.C. sees deadliest week since pandemic began

Hospitalizations reach more than 300 across the province

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Help make children’s wishes come true

Black Press Media, BraveFace host mask fundraiser for Make-A-Wish Foundation

Screenshot of Pastor James Butler giving a sermon at Free Grace Baptist Church in Chilliwack on Nov. 22, 2020. The church has decided to continue in-person services despite a public health order banning worship services that was issued on Nov. 19, 2020. (YouTube)
2 Lower Mainland churches continue in-person services despite public health orders

Pastors say faith groups are unfairly targeted and that charter rights protect their decisions

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A big job: Former forests minister Doug Donaldson stands before a 500-year-old Douglas fir in Saanich to announce preservation of some of B.C.’s oldest trees, July 2019. (B.C. government)
B.C. returning to ‘stand-alone’ forests, rural development ministry

Horgan says Gordon Campbell’s super-ministry doesn’t work

Alexandre Bissonnette, who pleaded guilty to a mass shooting at a Quebec City mosque, arrives at the courthouse in Quebec City on February 21, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mathieu Belanger - POOL
Court strikes down consecutive life sentences; mosque shooter has prison term cut

The decision was appealed by both the defence and the Crown

Gold medallists in the ice dance, free dance figure skating Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, of Canada, pose during their medals ceremony at the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Charlie Riedel
Olympic champions Virtue, Moir and Tewksbury among 114 Order of Canada inductees

Moir and Virtue catapulted to national stardom with their gold-medal performances at the Winter Olympics in 2018

Shoppers line up in front of a shop on Montreal’s Saint-Catherine Street in search of Black Friday deals in Montreal, Friday, Nov. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Black Friday shopping in a pandemic: COVID-19 closes some stores, sales move online

Eric Morris, head of retail at Google Canada, says e-commerce in Canada has doubled during the pandemic.

Chilliwack school board trustee Barry Neufeld is taking heat over using a ableist slur to refer to three Black Press employees. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)
BC School Trustees Association president keeps heat on Chilliwack Trustee Barry Neufeld

In a news release, Stephanie Higginson called on voters to take careful note of Neufeld’s behaviour

Most Read