The Washington Football Team partnered with Easterns Automotive Group to host meet-and-greets with three families from the Casey Cares Foundation. The meeting included a wide cast of individuals associated with the team, including the First Ladies of Football, SVP of Media and Content Julie Donaldson along with defensive end Ryan Kerrigan and tight end Logan Thomas.
And to make things even better, the Carwile, Torres and Caulfield families were surprised with a trip to Disney World in 2021 with from Easterns, who donated $10,000 to Casey Cares. To learn more about how Easterns serves the community, visit their website HERE.
"I am so excited to start my day with you guys," said Casey Cares Foundation founder Casey Baynes, who was also in attendance during the Zoom meetings. "I know things are a little different, and what a fun way to spice the holidays up. Thank you [to the Washington Football Team] for hosting and always being there to support us."
Founded by Baynes in 2000, the Casey Cares Foundation provides ongoing, uplifting programs with a special touch to critically ill children and their families. Baynes has received several awards for her work, including the Ravens Community Quarterback Award and the Howard County Volunteer of the Year Certificate of Recognition.
Under normal circumstances, each family would be given a tour of the Inova Sports Performance Center that culminated with attending practice. But with COVID-19 protocols preventing this from happening, each family got one-on-one interactions with people from the organization.
The Carwile family kicked off their virtual meet-and-greet with Donaldson, who spoke with Evelyn, 3, and her brother Wyatt, 5, who were wearing reindeer antlers during the meeting. They discussed their favorite games. Wyatt said his was Fortnite, and his favorite character is the Mandalorian from the popular Disney+ series. Donaldson also spoke about the recent success the team experienced during a four-game winning streak in Weeks 11-14.
"This four-game win streak is what all the hard work has been about," Donaldson said. "Really everybody coming together, the sacrifices that have been made, overcoming a lot of drama, a lot of challenges, overcoming [head coach Ron Rivera] having to deal with cancer treatment. All of that is being able to be paid off right now to be on this win streak. It's cool to have everybody cheering with us, even with their reindeer headgear on."
Each family then got to hear from two members of the First Ladies of Football, Ashley and Ceci, about what they do outside of cheerleading. With the Torres family, they discussed what they wanted to be when they grew up with Kaleb, 8, who wants to be a truck driver, while teaching a cheer routine to Declin Caulfield, 5, and his siblings Ronan, Kawliga and Aurelia. They also talked about what they have done to change their gameday routines during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Our motto is 'adjust and adapt,' and that's exactly what we've done," Ceci said. "I feel like we just seamlessly adapted to the digital world, and so we've been recording routines, showcasing all the routines that we've learned, whether that's from teammates…or routines that we've gotten from conventions."
The meet-and-greets culminated with appearances from Kerrigan and Thomas. While they told all the families that practice was not held that day, they also delivered some good news.
"On behalf of the Washington Football Team and Easterns Automotive Group," Thomas said. "We want to send you guys to Disney World in 2021 when everything is safe again."
And to top it all off, each family received a box filled with Mickey Mouse ears and Star Wars memorabilia to celebrate the announcement.
"Thank you so much. Your generosity on and off the field is unmatched," Baynes said. "You've seen the faces. That says it all. This is what life is about. It's those little moments and lasting memories that you share together as a family. Because at the end of the day, that's what matters is that we stay together, happy and healthy. Thank you for providing that today."