[Congressional Record Volume 153, Number 54 (Wednesday, March 28, 2007)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E661]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                       TRIBUTE TO FRED LEE HARRIS


                           HON. GEORGE MILLER

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Tuesday, March 27, 2007

  Mr. GEORGE MILLER of California. Madam Speaker, with a heavy heart, I 
rise to pay tribute to the life of Richmond icon and youth football 
coach Fred Lee Harris who died on March 16, 2007. For 27 seasons, Fred 
Harris dedicated his life to the Richmond Steelers football 
organization, providing coaching and moral leadership to hundreds of 
young players who have been a part of this community institution. As 
Head Coach of the program, Coach Harris was honored as a valuable role 
model in the community, establishing a consistent winning tradition and 
a healthy, positive environment for youth both on and off the field.
  Freddie Lee Harris, as he was known to his family, was born to the 
proud parents of Charles and Helen Harris on February 21, 1945, in 
Monroe, LA. At an early age, Fred moved with his family to Richmond, 
CA, and soon became the oldest of seven children. He attended school in 
the Richmond Unified School District and graduated from Harry Ells High 
School in 1963. Mr. Harris was a successful electrician for over 35 
years, and became involved with the Richmond Steelers when his own son 
went out for the team.
  Despite raising four children and having a full-time career, Fred 
managed to volunteer 25 hours a week from July to December in order to 
coach the Steelers' most advanced team, the Midgets. Up until 2005, the 
Midgets won six consecutive league championships. Moreover, he was the 
coach and equipment coordinator for the entire program and attended as 
many as four football clinics a year to make sure the Steelers kept 
current with the latest coaching and equipment innovations. Fred's 
natural leadership abilities extended beyond his passion for football 
and coaching, and he envisioned his position as a chance to nurture 
life lessons and good values in his players.
  The Richmond Steelers organization is not just a refuge for the youth 
in Richmond. The five teams, which consist of players from the ages of 
6 to 14, are a valuable resource for parents who disapprove of 
Richmond's violent street life. Many have said that under Coach Harris' 
guidance, the Steelers is one of the most effective violence prevention 
programs in Richmond. As a coach and adviser, Fred instilled the type 
of pride in his players that comes from discipline, hard work, and team 
work, the type of pride that lasts for generations.
  Fred Harris was not just a coach, but an effective mentor. Fred saw 
the athletic and individual potential in each child with whom he 
worked, and he was dedicated to helping his players reach that 
potential through constructive means. Many sons of Richmond would have 
been lost without this resource.
  To Coach Harris' wife, Etta Harris, and his children: Andre, Fredda, 
Felicia, and Maryhelen, I extend my heartfelt condolences. His loss is 
shared not only by those who knew Fred personally but also by all those 
in Richmond who benefited from his direction and hard work over the 
years. We will be forever grateful for the integrity, passion and 
unwavering commitment with which he sought to make the legendary 
Richmond Steelers a safe place to foster hope.