As a face of the Rams franchise, Defensive Tackle and Defensive Player of the Year AARON DONALD was also the front-man of this year’s ‘Holidays for Heroes’ card to pay respect for active military members and veterans.
On November 6, Donald, teammates, cheerleaders, and members of the Rams staff visited Sumac Elementary School classrooms to personalize holiday cards of appreciation with students and teachers.
“What do you think we should say in our card?” asked Donald as he sat beside a student at a table far too small for someone of his size. “How about we write something to thank them and wish them Happy Holidays? I bet they’ll appreciate that.”
During his surprise visits, Donald tried to interact with nearly every student in each class. When he wasn’t helping students brainstorm ways to show their appreciation for the men and women that protect our country, he was fulfilling many student’s much-desired autograph and photo requests.
“It’s just special to be here with the kids and see the enjoyment on their faces while doing something great for the troops,” said Donald. “Football has provided us this platform to be able to do things like this. It might seem like a small thing but sometimes, it’s a really big thing for people such as our troops. I’m blessed to be here and to do this for them and spend time with these kids.”
Check out photos of this week's Community Impact Player of the Week, Aaron Donald, from Holiday for Heroes.
Bill Walrath, a Board member for the LA region’s American Red Cross, believes that Donald’s visit to Sumac Elementary provided tremendous excitement and perspective for students. As Donald would humbly redirect attention away from himself and encourage students to focus their efforts on acknowledging our country’s “true heroes,” Walrath believes he shed a positive and educational light on our nation’s service members and their sacrifices.
“American Red Cross was so excited to have Donald and the Rams come to Sumac Elementary School to help teach our kids who the real heroes are, and that’s our active service and military veterans,” said Walrath. “It’s great that these kids get an opportunity to tell them how much they truly appreciate what they do, and Aaron Donald and the Rams players are huge supporters of this and are great role models.”
In addition, Donald recently paid a visit to Brotherhood Crusade in South Los Angeles to interact with youth and recognize Karim Webb as a Rams Community Quarterback Award winner for his strong leadership abilities and passion for bettering his community. Donald presented Webb with a check to further Brotherhood Crusade’s mission and informed him that they will receive an on-field recognition at an upcoming home game.
“I remember being a kid and seeing an NFL player, I think that motivation will push you,” said Donald. “Just to be around them, shake their hands, and laugh with them…It’s always a special thing.”
Footage from Donald’s visit to Sumac Elementary for the Rams ‘Holidays for Heroes’ campaign can be viewed here.
For more information about the Rams community outreach initiatives, please visit www.therams.com/community.