A quiet All-Star comes to Denton

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We hesitate to mention it - it seems a little like talking about a potential no-hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning - but it seems to us that we are seeing more grown-ups these days in the ranks of professional athletes.

We're talking about men like Josh Hamilton, who is bravely and openly fighting alcoholism with the help of his Texas Rangers teammates, or the Cardinals' Albert Pujols, who works tirelessly to educate people about Down syndrome when he isn't otherwise occupied being the greatest baseball player of the decade.

And we're also talking about Vernon Wells, the All-Star Los Angeles Angels outfielder who visited Denton on Monday with a few of his friends to help serve up lunch at Our Daily Bread, one of this good town's best and most enduring charities.

Wells and his wife are the founders of Perfect 10 Charity, an organization that helps single mothers and their children. Perfect 10 has recently expanded its activities into Denton County from Arlington, where it began four years ago, and Wells and some Perfect 10 volunteers showed up Monday at Our Daily Bread to help dish up lunch. Mayor Mark Burroughs, a Perfect 10 sponsor, came too.

The trip to Denton was Perfect 10's way of observing World Homeless Day. Wells told the Record-Chronicle's Britney Tabor that he wanted to do something more than make a donation to the cause.

"Sometimes time is just as important as money," Wells said. "You get a chance to come out and meet different people and show them that we love them just as much as anyone else."

Probably just as important as Wells' presence at Our Daily Bread was the manner with which he conducted himself. Our spies at Our Daily Bread said he never once called attention to himself; he simply took his place in the serving line and chatted with anyone and everyone who came by.

Some people probably knew who he was - a three-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove recipient - but many more didn't, and those folks got as much of Wells' time and attention as those who could quote his batting and fielding statistics.

It is encouraging to see high-profile athletes such as Wells, Hamilton and Pujols keeping a low profile while doing good. It is a far cry from Dennis Rodman's cross-dressing escapades or Frenchy Fuqua's high-rise platform shoes with goldfish swimming in the clear Lucite soles.

Wells grew up in Arlington, but that's close enough to Denton for us to try to claim him. His is an inspiring example, to us and to his fellow athletes. We thank him for coming to town, and he's welcome back any time.


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