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by Lisa Albergo reporting for AFANA from Chicago

The AFL and the Reach Foundation has honored the late Jim Stynes with a community award in his name. The Jim Stynes Community Leadership Award will be presented on Brownlow Night to a player for his community work and who "demonstrates the values of Jim Stynes in his commitment to the community and understanding the value of helping others". The announcement was made by Jim Stynes’ widow, Sam Stynes, Reach chairman and Melbourne president Don McLardy and AFL Chief Executive Officer Andrew Demetriou. The League was considering a presentation on Grand Final Day but opted to present it on Brownlow Night as Stynes won the prestigious award in 1991.

All clubs can put forth their nominations. The winner will be determined by a panel consisting of Jim's widow Sam, Andrew Demetriou, an AFL Commissioner and a representative from the Reach Foundation. Starting in 2013, the previous year's winner will also be on the panel. The winner will receive $20,000 from the AFL for his designated charity or community program.

In making the announcement, Demetriou said “We are all indebted to Jim Stynes’ memory and will forever be inspired by his contribution". He added that the award was a tribute to Stynes' "... boundless commitment to the broader community ... and supporting numerous community initiatives during and after his playing career". He praised Stynes' achievements with his community programs, describing those efforts as a legacy that will continue.

McLardy described the award as a wonderful tribute and way for Jim's legacy to live on. He also acknowledged Stynes' contributions to the club and said those contributions as well as those to the community were immeasurable and that all Demon supporters could be proud of the award. He further stated that a winner would be easy to find as there are a number of footballers whose community work goes unheralded.

Sam Stynes said her family was "thrilled" knowing Jim's legacy would live on. She also said Jim believed footballers should be role models.

Source: & Patrick Keane, AFL Media Release

Article last changed on Wednesday, May 23, 2012 - 9:49 AM EDT

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