Retired professional boxer and Army Public Affairs Officer Boyd Melson was inducted to the Jewish Sports Heritage Association Sunday, April 29.
A 501(C)(3), the Jewish Sports Heritage Association, INC is an educational organization dedicated to educating the public about the role Jewish men and women have played in sports and showing Jewish youth that there is nothing they cannot achieve.
All honorees were introduced by Master of Ceremonies Barry Landers at Temple Israel in Lawrence, NY. Each honoree then give a speech and received a plaque from the Jewish Sports Heritage Association.
Following a solid amateur career, Melson had an 18 fight pro career and finished with a record of 15-2-1 with 4 wins by knockout. He won the WBC USNBC 154 pound title in 2015 and retired in 2016. While his pro career was definitely a success, Melson’s ultimate goal was to raise funds and awareness for multiple causes including chronic spinal cord injuries and narcotics addiction.
Between donating 100% of his fight purses, private donations and charity galas, Melson helped raise close to a half million dollars. Shortly after his retirement from pro boxing, Melson announced he was running for Congress in District 11, covering Staten Island and South Brooklyn. He was considered one of the top candidates and had strong support.
In December 2017, the selfless Melson withdrew from the congressional race, volunteering to serve our country in Iraq. In offering to get deployed, Melson assisted another Army Reserve member that received a special opportunity domestically in the Reserve that would greatly benefit her family.
Currently in Iraq, Melson was elated when he was notified of this special honor, which was accepted by his mother Anette, Uncle Leo and retired Coloniel Alessi.
“Here we are. Earning an honor that was a product of me following what my heart beats with divine love, and having to receive this honor in harms way due to me making a choice that is consistent with my heart’s values. I find myself here helping by doing my part to defeat the ugliest and most horrific form of human endeavor I have ever experienced. While doing this, I am highly aware that the people I am helping, who are extremely welcoming and friendly, might look at me through a different lens if they knew I was and am Jewish. It is an interesting paradox. This honor I am receiving is solely dedicated to my Zayda and my Bubbe (grandmother and grandfather).
My Zayda left his body five years ago, and my Bubbe is one of the last Holocaust survivors on this planet. My Zayda was conscripted to serve to fight the Nazis in World War Two. HE SURVIVED. He created a family after surviving that absolute evil, and brought them all here to the United States. I am because of him. I am an American Citizen, born in this great country, because of his courage and strength. I think about this daily with where I am now, and I do mean daily. My Zayda put on a military uniform to fight an evil similar to how I am doing today. His spirit was close to my soul when I made this choice. I know I am being honored for being what I completed as a Jewish professional athlete, and I thank you. Please forgive me however for placing a much greater important at this moment, as an African American, as a Jew, as a West Point Graduate, as an Army Officer, as an athlete, and as a HUMAN BEING, on the narrative I gave above. That is what is sitting on me here. I hope one day, that every individual in this part of the world who we are helping, and who may not have kind feelings towards Jews, learns that Jewish American military servicemen came here and helped them because it was right and because we swore an oath. I see it as my responsibility being Jewish,being an American, and being a soldier.”