Three-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Tommie Harris lost his wife suddenly in February to a brain aneurysm. But even in his grief, Harris knew Ashley Harris would want him to continue their passion.
And so, the San Diego Charger is honoring her memory by creating schools in African countries. The facilities — starting in Sudan — will serve girls who have been abused or enslaved by Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army. He will name it the Ashley Harris Sunshine School, and he hopes to build many more across the continent.
Harris and Ashley, who was just 29, took two trips to Africa through Pros for Africa, a non-profit organization that describes its mission, “connecting professionals of all fields with the children of Africa.” Ashley Harris was moved by the people she met in Tanzania and Uganda. The organization appreciated her commitment so much that it dedicated to her this year’s medical expedition through northern Uganda and South Sudan.
Tommie Harris has called on his NFL comrades to support his ambition. Matt Forte, who played with Harris with the Chicago Bears, already has signed on as a donor. Considering the large NFL contingent that reached out to Harris after his wife’s death, and his many fans in Chicago and San Diego, Harris has a strong base to achieve his mission — and honor his wife.