Meet Incoming Freshman Rudy Favard: Reluctant Hero and Regular Dude

News Story: May 1, 2011
Rudy Favard
photo courtesty of
Jim Lockwood/Pilot Catholic News

Incoming Freshman Rudy Favard hesitated to be interviewed for this story because he believes he is “just a regular dude.” While others may dispute that – Rudy has been the subject of numerous news stories – a few minutes of conversation reveal that Rudy may be onto something. “When I met Admissions Counselor Christina Tsimortos, I just wanted to talk to a pretty girl. Once we started talking, I realized Sacred Heart had everything I wanted, including football.” Yup, he’s just a regular dude.

Rudy’s claim to fame is his volunteer work for the Parker family. Several nights a week, Rudy, now a senior at Malden Catholic High School in Massachusetts, stops by the Parker home to carry eight-year-old Sam up the stairs to bed. Sam is a quadriplegic as result of cerebral palsy.  Rudy doesn’t understand what the big deal is. “The stories have really been about the Parkers, not me. They need a handicapped-accessible house,” Rudy says. “What I do is no big deal. I get more out of it than I give.”

After Rick Parker had major surgery last year, he was no longer able to carry his son up to bed. Sam’s pediatrician suggested the family contact Malden Catholic because the school had a reputation for community service. Enter Rudy. He stops by the Parkers’ home three to five nights a week and says he has become a part of their family. “I bring dates over to meet them. It gives me the best of both worlds. In my own family, I have brothers who are a lot older than I am. With the Parkers, I have two little brothers.”

Rudy is excited about coming to Sacred Heart where he plans to major in Marketing and Business Administration and hopes to earn his master’s degree, but he is concerned for the Parkers. “It would help me sleep better when I go away if they had the handicap-accessible house they need. It might not be that easy to get someone to do what I do. You have to be reliable and have your priorities straight. I know that from 7:30 to 8:30 at night is my time to be with the Parkers.”

Tsimortos says she knew that Rudy was special the first time she talked with him. “He looked me right in the eye and told me it would he an honor to play for the Pioneers,” she recalls. She met Rudy at a college fair at Malden Catholic. She is responsible for recruiting in eastern Massachusetts and says it is exciting for a student to be so enthusiastic before he even sees the campus. “Once he made the decision that day, Rudy never wavered. His guidance counselors followed up about Rudy’s story, making sure we knew just how special a student we were dealing with. It is obvious that he means a lot to Malden Catholic and will be missed there.”

Pioneers coach Paul Gorham is also excited that Rudy chose Sacred Heart. “He’s a great football player and a positive role model with his attitude and strong work ethic. He is mature for his age, and I think he will fit in well with our program. When he visited here, there seemed to be a commonality,” Gorham said.

Without a doubt, Rudy is special. He is also just one of many incoming college freshmen who have done hours of volunteer work and made a difference in their part of the world. As Rudy says – he’s just a regular dude.