For E. Michelle Bohreer, it began with an interest in hanging out with hulking college football players, but wound up being all about some unbelievably courageous children.
Bohreer spends much of her off-time each year watching and learning about the top college football linemen as part of her duties as an executive board member of the Rotary Club of Houston’s Lombardi Award Committee.
For the past 37 years, the Rotary Club of Houston has recognized the nation’s outstanding college football linemen while simultaneously raising money for the American Cancer Society. Last year, Bohreer, a founding partner at Bohreer & Zucker, a Houston boutique firm that specializes in employment law and business litigation, became the first woman to chair any nationally recognized college football award.
“Most people will tell you that we’re the No. 2 college football award after the Heisman, but I argue that we’re No. 1 because we have more first-round draft picks, more College Football Hall of Fame members, and our nominees average longer careers in the NFL than Heisman winners,” Bohreer says.
Spoken like a true college football fan, which Bohreer, 43, says she has been since growing up as an Oklahoma Sooner booster alongside a football-crazed dad and brothers.
She joined the Houston Rotary Club 10 years ago.
“I did it because I love college football and this was a way to hang out with the players. Then I met my first child with cancer and it changed my life. Now the football is a sideshow,” she says.
Each December, the four Lombardi Trophy finalists are flown to Houston for an awards banquet and other fund-raising activities. During the week, the players visit children who are hospitalized with various forms of cancer. Miss Texas comes along for young girls who aren’t impressed by 300-pound brutes.
“The kids are amazing! You never see a frown; you never see an expression of pain,” says Bohreer. “They are the real front-line warriors.”