The New England Patriots organization has had its share of blessings over the past 17 years. During that time, no NFL franchise has been more highly-decorated. One could say, it’s been a ‘wonderful life’ for the residents of One Patriot Place.
However, on Tuesday night, they put aside their dreams of Lombardi Trophy silver, to display their hearts of gold. It was a night of giving in Foxboro, Massachusetts.
The Patriots Foundation, and defensive team captain, Devin McCourty, hosted the annual Gifts from the Gridiron event at Bass Pro Shops of Patriot Place. Each year, children from local family shelters and outreach organizations are paired with a Patriots player, alumni or cheerleader to shop for the holidays and get winter necessities. The event is especially important for the players, and this year was no different. Dozens of players and alumni came out to help their new friends do some shopping. In addition to McCourty, Duron Harmon, David Andrews, Brandin Cooks, Malcolm Butler, Malcolm Mitchell, Johnson Bademosi, Joe Cardona, Deatrich Wise, Derek Rivers, Jordan Richards, Cole Croston and more joined in the festivities.
Red, White and Blue Holiday Cheer
Each child and their personal Patriot shopper hit the store armed with a gift card, sponsored by the Patriots Foundation. Their mission was to use their card to buy winter gear for themselves, as well as to purchase a holiday gift for someone else. The remainder of the gift card could be used to buy additional gifts or treats for themselves.
McCourty and his family help to sponsor the event each year. While this is merely one of the many yearly community events sponsored by the Patriots Foundation, this is a particularly special one for the Patriots safety and his teammates.
“It means everything. It really shows what the Patriots as an organization really stand for. Obviously, with Mr. Kraft and his late wife Myra, what they stood for, not just winning football games and winning Super Bowls, but being a pillar of the community,” McCourty said. “The guys that come in here, they understand it and learn from the older guys. It just gets passed down from generation to generation.”
Making New Friends
Although they had just met that night, many of the Patriots and their shopping partners hit it off. Cornerback Johnson Bademosi and his shopping pal Mark joked around as they crossed items off their list.
“He’s a good guy,” Mark said of Bademosi. “We’re enjoying ourselves,” Bademosi added. “This is my first time, and I think it’s an amazing event. It’s something I’m happy to participate in and it’s definitely part of the holiday spirit.”
After the shopping spree, the pairs checked out and wrapped their gifts together. The night concluded with the children taking pictures with players, alumni, cheerleaders and Pat Patriot. Needless to say, all participants had a great time.
For more information on the Patriots Charitable Foundation, please visit their webpage: http://www.patriots.com/community
–Mike D’Abate is a Managing Editor and National Columnist for Full Press Coverage Sports Media. He covers the New England Patriots and Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @mdabateFPC