Willie Wood Way: A Packers Drive in Redskins Territory

Willie Wood Way (Photo By: heydayjoe)

Willie Wood Way (Photo By: heydayjoe)

Named for the Hall of Fame safety who played for the Green Bay Packers from 1960-71, Willie Wood Way is the block of N Street NW between First Street NW and New York Avenue NW in DC.

William Vernell Wood (b. 1936) and his family lived on this stretch of road in the 1950s, and Wood played football at the neighborhood boys club before he went on to become a star player at Armstrong High School and a quarterback at USC.

The Trojans were a good fit for Willie (sorry, had to say it). Willie Wood was the first black quarterback in the history of the Pac 12 conference and, though he was not drafted by the NFL – which wouldn’t be ready for its first black quarterback until James Harrison suited up for the Buffalo Bills in 1969 – Wood tried out for the Packers and was signed as a free agent in 1960.

Willie Wood in the 1960s (Courtesy of Green Bay Packers)

Willie Wood in the 1960s (Courtesy of Green Bay Packers)

Willie Wood helped the Packers win Super Bowls I and II, and he holds the record for most consecutive starts by a safety in NFL history. He was also the first black coach in the Canadian Football League.

Wood is truly a football legend, and the street naming in his hometown is a nice gesture for a man known for getting to the ball first. But much like the oft-replaced Stoner Road and Middlesex Road street signs from heydayjoe’s youth, the Willie Wood Way sign is destined to be a decorative trophy in the room of some sticky-fingered teen.

Truth Truck Makes Snow Patrick’s Day Appearance

(Photo By: heydayjoe)

(Photo By: heydayjoe)

Truth Truck USA, driven by Coloradoan Ron Brock (and ostensibly co-piloted by Jesus), has expanded from its original anti-abortion message into an array of colorful messages warning those in rebellion against God to repent. Brock, a Christian activist associated with pro-life group Operation Rescue and an alleged associate of terrorist group Army of God, built the Truth Truck in 1997 and has been arrested more than 200 times for breaking the law in connection with anti-abortion activism. Brock’s truck has spread its gospel to every state except Alaska and Hawaii. Here’s the Toyota of truth taking a break from its mobile ministry at 19th & L NW.

The Street of the Righteous Gentile

(Image By: heydayjoe)

(Image By: heydayjoe)

Renamed by an Act of Congress in 1985, Raoul Wallenberg Place SW is the stretch of 15th Street SW on which the Holocaust Museum is located.

While serving as Sweden’s special envoy in Budapest from July to December 1944, Raoul Wallenberg successfully rescued tens of thousands of people from certain death by issuing protective passports and sheltering Hungarian Jews in buildings that he rented and designated as official Swedish territory. He was later arrested by Soviet authorities on suspicion of espionage and died at the hands of the KGB in 1947.

One of the thousands saved by Wallenberg was U.S. House Rep. Tom Lantos (D-Calif., in office 1981-2008), the only Holocaust survivor to have served in the U.S. Congress.

Other streets named after Wallenberg include Raoul Wallenberg Street in Jerusalem, Place Raoul Wallenberg in Montreal, Raoul Wallenberg Boulevard in Charleston, S.C., and Raoul Wallenberg Avenue in Trenton, N.J.

It’s not surprising that many countries want to claim this heroic guy as their own: Wallenberg is an honorary citizen of the United States (the second, after Winston Churchill), Israel, Hungary, Australia and Canada (the first honorary citizen of Canada).