Former Sooner Football Legend Focuses on Helping War-Torn Africa

Friday, December 11th 2009, 8:34 pm
By: News 9

By Melissa Maynarich, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- There's another famous name from Oklahoma making headlines. You might remember Dewey Selmon from his moves on the football field, but now the Sooner is being recognized for a different reason, defending human rights.

Selmon, his wife and their seven kids received the Oklahoma Human Rights Award at the Capitol Friday.

The Selmons are being recognized for their commitment to the Shine Foundation, helping those less fortunate in West Africa.

They're a family focused on helping others half way around the world in war-torn areas of Africa.

Now the Selmons are being recognized on their home turf at the Oklahoma State Capitol.

"You realize that you can't save an entire world although sometimes you would like to, so you just try to do the little bit that you can to make the area around you better," Kathryn Selmon said.

The truth is the Selmons have made life better for countless people. Kathryn and Dewey Selmon, along with their children Megan, Shannon, Lauren, Zac, Adam, Christiana and Gabrielle, believe that everyone has basic human rights. That's why they founded the Shine Foundation, an organization that provides health care, education, shelter and food to the people of Liberia.

"The task and the goals are endless, but we just pray about it and never forget the idea though that Oklahoma is our roots, that's where we learned it from," said Dewey Selmon. "We all love this state."

It's in this state where Dewey Selmon's name was first in the spotlight, known as one of the best defensive lineman in college football. The All-American helped take the Sooners to two National Championships in 1974 and 1975.

But now he, his wife and his children will be known for much, much more, defending the rights of all human beings.

"We look back at what has happened and we are thankful for the present, but we look even greater for the future as to what can grow bigger even," Dewey Selmon said.

Now, one of the family member's is working on a film to document the suffering and the good work done by people in the West African region. It's called, "Rainbow Town."

Before starting their good work in Africa, Kathryn Selmon raised $80,000 and founded Norman's Food and Shelter for Friends.