On Saturday, Oct. 28, more than 50 Redskins alumni spent the afternoon at the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., packing care packages for military families thanks to the Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation and USO-Metro. *
With Halloween right around the corner, and holiday season close behind, Redskins alumni and their families spent Saturday afternoon giving back to military families in a variety of ways.
Meeting in the ballroom of the Omni Shoreham Hotel in Washington, D.C., more than 50 of the team's alumni, along with staff from USO-Metro, put together 1,500 halloween goodie bags for children of military families to be handed out Monday at Joint Base Andrews with their families in attendance.
Among those in attendance were some legendary players in Redskins history, including center Jeff Bostic and wide receiver Charlie Brown, along with some more recent alumni that included tight end Fred Davis. For Brown, it was another meaningful and communal start to the team's annual Homecoming Weekend.
"You see your teammates working together for one great cause – and that's to give back and help the community, in which the Redskins and Charitable [Foundation] are so great at," Brown said. "It's just a great honor for me to be here and give back and join the Redskins organization along with my former teammates."
He and his former teammates walked the length of two long tables filled with bins of different kinds of candy, fruit snacks, toys and pencils, dropping one of each into a bag that they tied up and boxed at the end of the line, before circling back and repeating the process.
The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation partnered with USO Metro Saturday to provide a special opportunity where Redskins alumni packaged gift bags for children of military members.
In between bagging, alumni also had the opportunity to write "thank you" letters to active military members. The letters were collected after Saturday's event and will be distributed throughout USO airport lounges for those about to deploy overseas. Many will be surprised to see the names signed at the bottom of the card.
According to Kat Cheshire, a USO manager of corporate partnerships, days spent like this – giving back in simple ways – make a big difference in keeping military families at the top of people's minds.
"I think some of it is just the realization and knowledge," Cheshire said. "The USO has a great position in that we are really the American people's way to say thank you to our troops and families. Oftentimes that doesn't really resonate or come back to our attention unless something big happens. So just that constant reminder that there are active-duty military serving at home and overseas, I think these programs help reiterate that to the American public."
That's particularly why Bostic made sure to help. For the last three years he's spent time at Fort Riley, Kansas, interacting with veterans and Wounded Warriors, and being humbled by the experience.
"I've got a special place in my heart for the people that serve our country," Bostic said. "And we, as football players, think we have it bad because we blew a knee out. A couple years ago in Fort Riley, we played a softball game against some of the Wounded Warriors. There's 10 guys on the field and there's 11 missing legs and two arms, so we don't have it that hard, and certainly what the military does for this country is phenomenal. And any time I get a chance to help them I will."
Bostic also appreciates the continued opportunities to give back this way with former teammates, telling old stories and sharing memories.
"It's a good feeling when you're able to give back," Bostic said. "The Redskins organization doesn't totally know how appreciative former players are that we get back and see each other."