The following story appeared in the May 1, 1997, edition of Gongwer News Service/Michigan Report:
Accolades were heaped on former heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali Thursday, who appeared before the Legislature to praise the efforts of the state’s children’s ombudsman to combat child abuse and neglect.
Known as “the Greatest” during his legendary boxing career, Mr. Ali was called one of the greatest citizens of Michigan by Lt. Governor Connie Binsfeld during his appearance before the Senate. Mr. Ali lives in southwestern Michigan. His wife, Lonnie, was unable to attend the day’s activities as planned because she had flu.
“I can think of no finer citizen for the abused and neglected children in Michigan than the Greatest,” Ms. Binsfeld said. “And it will take the best to win the uphill battle of ending abuse and neglect of children.”
Afflicted with Parkinson’s disease, Mr. Ali did not speak during his appearances but watched with keen interest at the attention he gathered. Dressed in a gray suit and red patterned tie, and accompanied a personal assistant and several security aides, Mr. Ali moved carefully down the center aisle of the Senate after receiving an award, shaking hands by taking a legislator’s right hand in his left and then extending his right hand.
Mr. Ali, whose testimony to a joint meeting of Senate and House committees was read by Kim Forburger, an assistant to the family, was promoting public support for the recommendations of Children’s Ombudsman Richard Bearup as well as other proposals by Ms. Binsfeld’s Children’s Commission.
Paul Lindstrom, Gongwer Blog, June 6, 2016.
“Muhammad Ali Fights Against Child Abuse“, Psychiatric News”, June 6, 1997.