Twenty years after the Lambeau Leap was first leapt, LeRoy Butler continues to make a difference for his fans.
Butler spontaneously invented the touchdown celebration, in which a Packer launches himself into the adoring arms of fans behind the end zone, two decades ago after he scored a defensive touchdown against the then-Los Angeles Raiders.
Today, the tradition is famous around the league, even 12 years after Butler played his last game in Green Bay. Still Butler is just as visible as he was then, through his involvement in a number of levels in the Milwaukee community. He chairs this year’s Red Kettle Campaign for the Salvation Army and runs an anti-bullying program inspired by his own childhood.
Butler says there are a lot of charities in the world that could use his help, but he focuses on giving back to the charitable causes that he was affected by growing up.
Butler had a challenging, but he says insightful, childhood. He was born with clubbed feet and needed to be in a wheelchair for a part of his childhood. Because of his physical condition, he became a target for bullying.
“I got out of [being bullied] is because I taught everybody around me to be friends,” Butler says. “To do anything negative to anybody because they are disabled or they are autistic or because they don’t have as much money as you do is just crazy.”
He has been working hard with schools with his “Be a Buddy, Not a Bully” campaign. His mother, who has had a major impact on Butler, taught him how to be a leader at a young age. Since then, he has been showing others how to be a leader.
His campaign helps students by giving them a platform to discuss their bullying problems and other social issues and gives them leadership skills. It also helps students work together to raise money for their schools, scholarships, and to buy necessities for students who cannot afford them.
When Butler was a child, he preferred receiving clothes over toys. He remembers his first pair of brand new shoes coming from the Salvation Army. To give back, he has been working with the Salvation Army Red Kettle campaign, becoming the honorary chair in Milwaukee.
Butler says the red kettles will be out starting in November. They hope to raise $5 million in the state of Wisconsin alone for their programs.