Whether a member of the military or the Washington Redskins, it always takes a team effort to accomplish a particular task or goal.
On Tuesday, representatives from both sides came together to take on a very important mission.
“It's really cool,” Redskins fullback
Tuesday’s Care Package Assembly Night, which was also hosted by Papa John’s and Coca-Cola, featured two teams of members from WOW – the Redskins’ official women’s fan club – and Redskins Salute – the team’s official military appreciation club – who assembled in the team’s indoor training facility.
From there, “Team Akeem” and “Team Darrel” – led by safety
The two teams were also aided by the support of Redskins defensive coordinator Joe Barry, Redskins Cheerleader Ambassadors, Felicia and Angela, and Jacqueline Griffin, the mother of quarterback
For Barry, Tuesday’s event was also his first opportunity to get out and meet with Redskins fans after being hired as the team’s defensive coordinator last month.
“I think me and my wife are looking to jump in with both hands and feet and arms and everything,” he said. “The fans, the community, they mean everything to us. So any time you can give anything back -- even if it's an appearance just to show up and shake a hand and say 'Hi' -- I think it's something that absolutely I want to do, and look forward to doing.”
All care packages assembled Tuesday night will be shipped to U.S. troops stationed overseas by Operation Gratitude, a non-profit organization whose mission is to lift spirits and meet the evolving needs of active duty and veteran communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for all Americans to express their appreciation to members of the military.
Since its inception in 2003, Operation Gratitude volunteers have shipped more than one million care packages.
For Young, Tuesday’s event was another chapter in his ever-lasting support of the military. The 2014 Redskins representative for the Walter Payton Man of the Year’s father served in the Army, and his brother, Sgt. 1st Class David Young Jr., has served for more than 16 years, completing several tours in the Middle East in recent years.
David Young Jr. tells his brother he’s always appreciative when a care package is sent his way, but remembers one gift in particular that helped get him through tough times.
“It's the weirdest thing: out of everything in the world, he wanted sunflower seeds,” Darrel recalled with a smile. “That's it. He had a craving for them, I sent them to him, and it was cool. So anything to make people feel better, that's what you want to do.”