Hero of the Week: Moe Dampeer finds redemption in kids

Join WAND's Gordon Voit every Wednesday for Hero of the Week, where Voit puts the spotlight on a member of the community who is demonstrating unusual character on and off the field!


DECATUR -- Lawrence "Moe" Dampeer was ticketed for the NFL. With solid five-star recruiting status up near Reggie Bush and dozens of spots higher than all-time greats like Joe Thomas, the game's top level looked like a guaranteed destination. At close to 300 pounds with the agility to tomahawk a basketball or dish a no-look pass, Dampeer had the kind of rare skill set that made him the envy of every blue blood program in America.

Then the most gifted athlete to every come out of Decatur hit his life's low point while in college. Weight. Attitude. You name it. Dampeer wasn't happy, and neither were his coaches. Were the rumors true that he was kicked off Oklahoma by legendary coach Bob Stoops? Dampeer is adamant that they are not. But the fact of the matter is that despite transferring to Joliet Junior College and later Division-II Northwest Missouri State, Dampeer's pro dream never came true.

Faced with those crushed dreams, Dampeer decided to rededicate his life to helping the kids of Decatur avoid the mistakes that he made. Not even kidney disease has stopped him from sacrificially giving his time and resources to making sure his football and basketball "mentees" have a ride to practice, a meal and most importantly a positive male role model.

Moe Dampeer isn't perfect -- he'll be the first to admit that. But he is a community hero for the way he's pursued redemption.

[Dampeer's latest quest has been helping the Decatur Bears 6th grade JFL program quality for Pro Football HOF Nationals in Wichita. His organization is raising money for the trip, which is in late November.]

Week 1: Shannon Roberts, MacArthur

Week 2: Fowler Connell, Danville

Week 3: Ken Leonard, Sacred Heart-Griffin

Week 4: Micah and Dennis Sheppard, Meridian

Week 5: Emily Short, Decatur

Week 6: Veterans and Friends golf 

Week 7: Dre Brown, Mike Dudek, Scotty Gilkey, Illinois/Eastern Illinois

Week 8: Demirjian Family of Decatur

Week 9: Donna Dulle, Mt. Pulaski

Week 10: Moe Dampeer