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The Washington Redskins Charitable Foundation, the Department of Defense and supporting sponsor USAA, an Official Military Appreciation Sponsor of the Redskins, on Tuesday hosted the second-annual Salute to Play 60 event at Fort Belvoir for hundreds of youth participants from various military installations.
Wanting to preach the important of staying active, WRCF and USAA brought along some celebrity instructors to help the young boys and girls get through their exercises – Redskins players.
Joining the players were Tanya Snyder, wife of owner Dan Snyder, WOW Wives, the First Ladies of Football and Nike Trainer Deanna Jefferson.
Kicking off the event was a VIP meet and greet between the players and senior military leadership, followed a check donation presentation of $5,000 each to Air Force, Navy, Army and Marine Corps youth programs on behalf of WRCF.
Snyder and Redskins legendary quarterback and front office executive Doug Williams then spoke to the participants and their families.
“We’re so excited to be here on behalf of the Washington Redskins and the Charitable Foundation and everybody that had a part in today,” Snyder said. “Show your energy on the field. This is about getting those endorphins going and moving.”
Williams thanked service members for their around the clock work in making sure the country remains safe.
“It’s good to see the young guys out and the young ladies out today -- enjoy yourself,” he said. “I just want to say thank you for allowing us to come out here today to be a part of Play 60. But also thank you for what you’ve done to allow us to be free to do this. Thank you.”
Participants were then divided into six different groups where they rotated between stations involving Zumba, an inflatable obstacle course, nutrition relay races, flag football and yoga.
Morris – who played quarterback during his group’s time at the flag football station – said he enjoyed the event’s core philosophy of teaching both the importance of physical activity and proper nutrition.
“I’m not really sure on the childhood obesity statistics, but they’re higher since I was young,” the Pro Bowl running back said. “It seems to continue to rise – bad food choices and stuff like that. So to be able to come out here and get them active and teach them things about making the right choices when it comes to eating.
Morris said he was happy to relay to the children in attendance how important a balanced, healthy diet really is.
"I think it’s very informative for these kids, because when I was coming up, we didn’t have as much information," he said. "If you don’t know, how can you fix it? So it’s good that this event is not only physical, but they get nutrition information as well. That’s awesome.”
Griffin III, who was in the shoes of the participants not too long ago as a former military brat himself, said any event in which both kids and military are at the forefront is important.
“We’re here for the Salute to Service Play 60 and we got a lot of players out here giving back to this community,” he said. “It means a lot to me. I have family members who experienced the military life for a long time and some are still in it. ... It’s just good to give back to these kids, show them that we’re here and appreciate not only their parents’ service, but their service as military brats.”
Ronney A Wright, Force Master Chief, USN, (Ret) and Military Affairs Representative for USAA, echoed Griffin III's sentiment.
“We love taking care of the military and their families," he said. "We know what it means to serve. The event we’re taking care of today with NFL Play 60 is the best, because it’s all about the kids and taking care of them and keeping them active.
After trying his hand at playing offense as the kids tried to pry his flags away from him, Hatcher said he wanted to learn something from them and their parents, especially with his background not being as military heavy.
“We’re out here on the military base and you just learn a lot from these guys about leadership,” Hatcher said. “It’s just a good overall event for us. I’m glad I came out.
Hatcher said those in the military "make my job look easy compared to what they do."
"So I pick their brains to see what they’re going through and how we can incorporate it in our team," the Pro Bowl defensive end said. "I’m here for the kids, as well, and to spend a few hours being active with them.”