Bettis honored at Mel Blount Youth Home dinner

There isn't much that scares former Steelers running back Jerome Bettis. But before he was to be roasted at the 13th Annual Mel Blount Youth Home All-Star Celebrity Roast even he had to admit he had some fears.

"I am scared," said Bettis. "I don't know what they are going to say. I am definitely scared of that."

The dinner was emceed by former running back Merril Hoge and brought together current and former Steelers players to roast Bettis.

But Hoge also couldn't help but to praise Bettis, who during his playing career and after has been involved in the Pittsburgh community through The Bus Stops Here Foundation and other charitable endeavors.

"Jerome is the perfect fit for Pittsburgh, the organization and the community," said Hoge. "He is genuine off the field. He was an amazing football player. He gives back.

"Mel has been a great ambassador of service. It all starts with the Rooney family. I remember Chuck Noll telling us on our stage we have the ability to give back. He wanted us to tie ourselves to something credible. Mel has done that and has been an ambassador to giving back and being in the community. Jerome has followed through with that."

And that is why Blount choose to honor the popular running back, because even though it was a roast, it was about much more than that.

"Jerome in my opinion was the first really iconic rock star type running back of this era," said Blount. "Franco (Harris) was back in the 70s. But Jerome has taken stardom to a whole new level. I was really hoping he would get into the Hall of Fame this year. He has been a tremendous representative of the Steelers with what he has done in the community."

The dinner, which last year featured Hines Ward, is the main fundraiser for Blount's Youth Home in Washington, Pa.

"This event is our lifeblood," said Blount. "It all started for my 50th birthday and my wife wanted to do something and it took on a life of its own. It has its own personality and following."

And with Bettis as the honoree, it wasn't hard to fill the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh with around 1,200 guests.

"I am happy to lend a hand to raise money for his youth home, for the kids," said Bettis. "To be able to be here being the honoree, it's very humbling. It makes you feel good that your peers respect you and what you have done in the community. You don't do it for credit. You do it because it's important to you. It means a lot that they look at me that way."

About The Mel Blount Youth Home of PennsylvaniaIt is a multi-service treatment program for young males who are victims of child abuse and neglect. The Mel Blount Youth Home is situated on 300 acres of land located in Washington County. The Youth Home is surrounded by beautiful woods and fields, an outdoor equestrian center, walking trails, basketball court and fishing ponds. Our inter-disciplinary treatment program takes full advantage of community based agencies that provide children with an array of opportunities to experience success. Individual therapeutic techniques are used with the pre-adolescent such as play therapy activities, music therapy, reality therapy and anger management. All regular and special needs residents attend one of the McGuffey School District's elementary, middle of high schools, unless specified by their Individual Education Plan (IEP).

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