For Alumnus, Award From Chiefs All Goes Back to Family

Friday, October 12, 2018
Randy Lopez and Clark Hunt at Arrowhead Stadium

Randy Lopez, ’06, could have tossed the email in his spam folder.

It purported to be from the Kansas City Chiefs, notifying him of an award he had won. It came on the day before he was scheduled to leave on vacation. Lopez, a program officer with the Wyandotte Health Foundation, wasn’t sure what to think, at least at first.

“It was totally unexpected,” he said.

The message was informing Lopez that he was the recipient of this year’s NFL’s Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award in Kansas City. It was very legit. Each of the NFL’s 32 markets annually award one individual with the honor, recognizing their service in their respective communities during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Actually taking the field at Arrowhead Stadium before the Sept. 23 home opener against the San Francisco 49ers was barely more believable than that original subject line.

“It was definitely surreal — who goes to a Chiefs game in a suit?” he said. “I’ve been a Chiefs fan all my life, so getting to go down onto the field before the game and see the players five feet away, I turned into 13-year-old Randy.”

The atmosphere was one thing, but the recognition itself was another. Hearing his name on the loudspeaker and hearing the crowd cheer was incredible, especially given who Lopez said was in the audience as his guest.

“I took my mom, and that made it all the more meaningful,” Lopez said. “My parents taught me to work hard and to give back. I’ve become who I am through them.”

By day, Lopez works to provide equitable health care to residents of Wyandotte County, Kansas. But, as a onetime recipient of a college scholarship from the Hispanic Development Fund of Greater Kansas City, Lopez said he always wanted to repay the organization once he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Rockhurst.

For the last five years, Lopez has served on the board of the Hispanic Development Fund of Greater Kansas City as a way of staying involved in the community that had given him so much.

“As a recipient of the scholarship, I really felt the support of my community,” he said. “I really think knowing so many people believe in you can help you succeed.”

It’s given him an opportunity to talk to current HDF scholarship winners and advocate on a host of the issues facing Kansas City’s Hispanic community. That’s not work that Lopez said he does alone, and as he talked with others about the award from the Chiefs, it’s something he’s tried to keep top of mind.

“It’s a lot bigger than just me and what I do,” Lopez said. “I tell folks that I was the one who was named, but this recognition reflects the work of all of us.”