Joe Delaney would be 58 years old. But Joe Delaney’s life ended he was 24, exactly 34 years ago today.
The Chiefs running back, whose 1,121 rushing yards as a rookie in 1981 helped the team to its first winning season since 1973, died while trying to save three children who were drowning on June 29, 1983.
“I can’t swim good,” Delaney said as he rushed into the water, ‘”but I’ve got to save those kids.'”
One of the three children survived.
We remember Joe Delaney’s heroic act of selflessness every year, and this year there’s a new twist. Via the Kansas City Star, Mark and Kelly Neath named their 15-year-old daughter Delaney in honor of Joe.
“I think for Mark and I, every time we get an opportunity to talk about how Delaney got her name, it’s a way to give testimony as to why Joe was important,” Kelly Neath said.
“I feel like it helps keep him alive,” Mark Neath added.
Delaney Neath wears Joe Delaney’s No. 37 in every sports she plays. No. 37 is a number that should be worn by a lot more football players, who then can explain when asked why they picked such an unusual number that it’s a living tribute to a young hero who gave his life while trying to save three others.