It was a powerful night for Twins slugger Nelson Cruz, who won the Muhammad Ali Sports Humanitarian Award ESPY for the charitable work he does in the Dominican Republic.
Cruz, who led the Twins with 41 homers last season, was brought to tears when he found out via a Zoom meeting that he'd won the award over five other deserving athletes, including Maya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx and ex-Timberwolves star Kevin Love.
"That will definitely help a lot of people," said Cruz, with tears in his eyes. "So, from the bottom of my heart, my family, my foundation, and my hometown, thank you."
Cruz grew up in Las Matas de Santa Cruz, a city on the northwest side of the island nation, where living with running water, paved roads and consistent electricity isn't common.
After a friend's home burned down because the city didn't have a fire truck, Cruz found a way to donate a fire engine, in addition to an ambulance, vehicles for local police, a new medical facility and a police station. He also helped provide the city with wheelchairs, crutches and other mobility devices for the city's elderly.
Minneapolis native wins perseverance award
Another Minnesota athlete received the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance. Taquarius Wair was given a 20% chance to survive after suffering third-degree burns to more than half of his body when his family's home caught fire on Mar. 22, 2005. Wair lost three fingers on his left hand.
You can read more about his incredible story here.