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Sep 21, 20

Football legend, Herschel Walker, will headline the 39th Annual Law Enforcement Appreciation Dinner and Children’s Charity Fundraiser on November 18th in Sioux Falls. The Heisman Trophy winner played professional football for 12 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys, the Minnesota Vikings, the Philadelphia Eagles and the New York Giants before retiring in 1997.

This year’s event will start at 6:00 p.m. at the Ramkota Exhibit Hall in Sioux Falls. The event was founded 39 years ago by Gene Abdallah as a way for local business and community leaders to come together and honor law enforcement officers throughout South Dakota. The event has also raised millions of dollars for children’s charities in the name of law enforcement. Each year, one law enforcement officer receives the William J. Janklow Law Enforcement Officer of the Year Award. Nearly 2,000 people attend the dinner every year, making it the largest of its kind in the United States. Due to the ongoing pandemic, however, attendance at this year’s event will be significantly reduced.

“We are absolutely thrilled that Herschel Walker has accepted our invitation to speak to our men and women in law enforcement this year,” said Scott Abdallah – co-chair of the annual event. “This year, more than ever, we need to honor law enforcement and recognize the dangerous and often times thankless job they do each day to protect all of us.”

While in high school at Wrightsville, GA, Walker participated in football, basketball and track. In football, he scored an amazing 86 touchdowns. He led Johnson County High School to state championships in both football and track and maintained an “A” average in the process.
After graduating valedictorian from high school, Walker was the most sought after college football recruit in the nation. He played college football for three years at the University of Georgia, and is considered one of the greatest college football players ever to play the game. Walker is the only player to finish in the top 3 of Heisman voting in all three of his collegiate seasons, winning the Heisman Trophy during his third and final year in 1982.

Walker gave up his final year of eligibility in 1983 and joined the newly formed USFL where he played for Donald Trump’s New Jersey Generals. No player dominated the USFL like Walker, setting the single-season professional football rushing record of 2,411 yard. Following his career
in the USFL, Walker joined the Dallas Cowboys in 1986 where he led the NFL in rushing and was named All-Pro.

In 2019, college football celebrated its 150th anniversary, and sports journalists from around the country voted Walker the greatest running back ever to play college football. Walker was also a member of the 1992 United States Olympic bobsleigh team in Albertville, France.
Walker has been outspoken in his opposition to the recent riots in American cities, stating that “outsiders coming to riot into other communities should get federal time for destroying lives and businesses.” Walker has also voiced strong opposition to the “defund police” movement. This will be the first time that Walker has ever spoken publicly in Sioux Falls.

Walker now lives in Westlake, TX, with his wife, Julie. Walker is a devout Christian and credits his faith as being a guiding force in his life.

It is great to work with the attorneys at Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah. They always provide excellent advice and service that is second to none.

Mike Miller | former NBA player

The lawyers at Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah are consistently ranked as the top business lawyers in the state. Our business can always count on them to aggressively fight for our rights and provide straight-forward advice on complex issues.

Mark McNeary | Primrose Retirement Communities, LLC

Lawyers from Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah regularly participate in legal education by judging intramural student skills competitions; helping prepare our nationally competitive litigation skills teams; serving or leading the South Dakota State Bar's Law School Committee; and, from time to time , providing guest lecturers. The Law School is grateful for the generous participation of lawyers like those from Johnson, Janklow, and Abdallah.

Tom Geu | former Dean, USD School of Law