George Branch – A Newark Street Sign Honors George Branch
George Branch is remembered with a street sign in Newark’s Central Ward, an inspiring long shot who never let anyone down. He provided assistance to many in the community – from kids to seniors and the homeless – throughout their lives.
He co-founded the city’s Project Pride football game, which raised funds for scholarships and academic programs. Additionally, he ran a senior fashion show, bus rides, and Christmas parties for those less fortunate in society.
Early Life and Education
George Branch was raised on a rural Virginia plantation, immersed in hard work and the economy of tobacco. There, his discipline and efficiency would lead him to be an accomplished surveyor, planter, leader of men, and statesman.
Although he never received a formal education, he learned how to read and write, study geometry and trigonometry, as well as develop manners. Furthermore, his sense of humor allowed him to connect with people more easily.
He had a deep-seated passion for history and storytelling, as well as photography to capture the beauty of the world from different perspectives. Above all else, he had an immense love of family, friends, and seniors; loyal church member with many leadership roles including trustees’ ministry; active participant in numerous community organizations; always taking care of those in need.
George Branch was a professional boxer and coach, as well as serving as Newark councilman where he helped raise funds for citywide sports programs.
He was a co-founder of Project Pride, which donates funds to schools and sports teams. Additionally, he played an instrumental role in rebuilding Newark’s Central Ward following the 1967 riots.
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Achievements and Honors
In addition to his many accomplishments in the military, Branch also served as a mentor to many. He strongly believed in youth education and made it his mission to assist children within his community.
He co-founded the Newark Project Pride football game to raise money for scholarships, tutoring and academic enrichment programs. Additionally, he organized a senior citizens fashion show as well as Christmas parties, picnics and awards ceremonies.
He received numerous honors throughout his life, such as receiving the National Medal of Honor in 1970 and receiving the Distinguished Service Award from the United States Army in 2000. Furthermore, he was inducted into the American Aviation Hall of Fame – becoming its first African-American recipient – and received both the Congressional Gold Medal and American Aviation Hall of Fame recognition in 2001.
George Branch was a man who never forgot his roots. He was an honest country boy from the South who worked hard and found success.
He never gave up even when the odds were against him and was willing to make sacrifices for others. It’s why he earned his nickname: “Buddy Gee”.
After dropping out of school, he found employment at a hardware store and later as park manager in Newark. Through these jobs, he was able to return to night school and earn his general equivalency diploma.
He rose to become a city councilman and made an impact in Newark, serving 16 years. His motto was: “Do it for the little guy, not just yourself.” And he lived by this principle every day of his career. Additionally, he was an exemplary friend to those in need within the community.
Branch, a former professional football player, earned the distinction of being both the NFL’s All-Pro Offensive Player of the Year in 2002 and Super Bowl MVP. He played for both New England Patriots from 2002 until 2005 and Seattle Seahawks from 2006 through 2010.
He owns Providence Minerals, which controls a significant portion of oil and gas acreage in the Marcellus Shale. Moreover, during the financial crisis he invested money into distressed assets like commercial airplanes and IOUs to power plants.
In addition to his personal wealth, he donates millions of dollars to various charities. His support of The Salvation Army is particularly noteworthy and has used the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving halftime show as an opportunity to raise funds for this good cause.