In partnership with Bob Hope USO, Rams offensive tackle AJ Arcuri, cornerback Derion Kendrick, running back Kyren Williams and tight end Roger Carter Jr. joined Rams Cheerleaders and Rampage to deliver Operation Gratitude care packages to more than 150 U.S. Coast Guardsmen at the Los Angeles/Long Beach base. The Operation Gratitude care packages contained handwritten letters of gratitude, snacks, hygiene products and handmade items.
"I think it's great for our players to experience different aspects of the community being that Salute to Service is one of our community pillars. They can see what it's like being an active-duty service member," said Zach Kinkeade, Senior Manager of Community Affairs and Engagement. "Without them, we would not be able to do what we do. They fight for our freedom so our guys can play on Sundays."
During the delivery, the Rams toured the base and learned the history of the United States Coast Guard. They toured the small cutter rescue boats and Benjamin Bottom Fast Response Cutter (FRC), the 32nd fastest in the Coast Guard and the fourth of four FRCs to be stationed at the San Pedro Coast Guard Base. These boats carry on search rescues, migrant security and counter drug missions. While touring the cutters, the rookies enjoyed a friendly game of FIFA with the Coasties and received a warm welcome from a sea lion.
"It means everything to come out and actively support our military. This is something that I have always wanted to do, and I feel as a football player you should do. We have so much influence and power while playing, but we do not realize and see the other things that are going on around us," said Kyren Williams. "Coming to the Coast Guard base allowed me to open my eyes see who the Coast Guardsmen are and how they protect us. We learned so much history of what it means to serve in the U.S Coast Guard and what they do on a day-to-day basis. We even had a cool surprise visit from a sea lion."
After the tour, Rams players joined the Coast Guardsmen for a "Taco Tuesday" lunch in the galley. Each service member also entered a raffle to receive two tickets to the Rams Salute to Service game against the Cardinals.
Senior Chief Yeoman Amy Torres expressed her gratitude for the Rams coming on base and making the Coasties feel appreciated.
"It is incredible and amazing to have the LA Rams come out and support the United State Military. It is a morale booster for our service members to have the players and members from this organization come to support us," said Torres. "The players showed us that they appreciate us, although they are really the stars. They took time out of their busy schedules to spend the day with us and that meant the world to our Coasties."
Executive Director of the Bob Hope USO and 26-year Coast Guard veteran, Charlene Downey, touched on the importance of paying respect to veterans and their families and being active in the community.
"It is so important to celebrate Veterans Day. For those of us that have served, every day is Veterans Day, but it is so amazing when the country takes a moment to honor those who have served our country and for their families to get the attention that they deserve," said Downey. "It is so great that organizations such as the LA Rams and NFL Salute to Service take the time during this month to not only honor service members during the game, but also be active in the community. What you are doing here, interacting with services members, means the world to them."
The USO, a private nonprofit organization, strengthens America's military service members by keeping them connected to family, home, and country, throughout their service to the nation. At hundreds of locations worldwide, we are united in our commitment to connect our service members and their families through countless acts of caring, comfort, and support. Locally, Bob Hope USO delivers USO programs, services, and outreach across 51,000 square miles comprised of eight counties in Southern and Central California. The USO is a family of volunteers, sustained by the charitable contributions of millions of generous Americans, united as a Force Behind the Forces®.
"Sports brings the military and families together. It is such a huge part of morale. To be able to do a Salute to Service event together and partner like the USO and the NFL brings morale, camaraderie, and resiliency," said Downey. It's so great come out with the players to a Coast Guard Base and see smiles on faces."
U.S. Coast Guards Base Los Angeles/Long Beach provides a wide variety of services in direct support of Coast Guard activities in Southern California. Among these are local and area housing, warehousing, health care, work-life, transportation of household goods and personnel support services.
To learn more about the Rams' community efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community.