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  1. #1
    r8rh8rmike's Avatar
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    Bradford, Teammates Provide Smiles In Joplin

    Bradford, teammates provide smiles in Joplin

    BY JIM HENRY, The Joplin Globe
    Friday, May 2, 2011

    JOPLIN, Mo. -- The St. Louis Rams gained at least one fan Thursday afternoon.

    "This means a lot to me because I've never got to meet an actual football player," said Madison Martin, who had autographs on her T-shirt and wristband. "This is my first time, and I'm really excited.

    "They are nice, and now that I got to meet a famous person who's a football player, I've got a new favorite team. It's the Rams."

    Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, offensive tackle Adam Goldberg, linebacker James Laurinatis, defensive end James Hall and center Jason Brown plus former Ram and New Orleans Saints tight end Ernie Conwell and DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, flew to Joplin on Thursday and visited families staying in the Leggett & Platt Athletic Center and Robert Ellis Young Gymnasium on the Missouri Southern campus.

    Then players and children went across the street to Fred G. Hughes Stadium where they threw the football around, posed for pictures and made public service announcements. The players also handed out football trading cards, and -- unlike the current state of the NFL -- it didn't take long for the trades to begin.

    "It's nice for them to come here," said Jordan Buttram, shortly after completing one trade that involved Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. "I took some cards for my friends."

    Dakota Texter threw the football with Bradford, last year's NFL offensive rookie of the year.

    "He throws the ball better than I do," Dakota said. "He's a quarterback. This is a lot of fun."

    It was Goldberg's idea for the players to come here.

    "We wanted to do something, being from St. Louis, being from the state," Goldberg said. "We were having trouble with logistics, trying to get here. It's a six-hour drive, and over the Memorial Day Holiday, we were running into scheduling issues. 'De' Smith got on board and kind of took the reigns. He said we're going to get a charter, we're going to fly you down there, we're just going to make it happen. With that initiative, we made it a reality."

    "He and I talked (Wednesday) and said let's get this done," Smith said. "We always have our battles it seems in the business side, but every now and then something happens that reminds you about what's truly important. Being able to come down and at least for a couple of hours, to have a kid smile and have him forget a little bit about what they are dealing with and hanging around the best players, this is what it's all about."

    "Being part of a community and a state, it's all about giving back and making people smile," Goldberg said. "They are in desperate need of some smiles down here. We're glad to bring them whatever happiness we can, whether it's having fun with the kids or shake some hands and try to lift some spirits. Whether it's signing an autograph for them, throwing the ball with them, playing Legos with them or giving them a pack of trading cards or just introducing them to the great Sam Bradford, we're just really happy to be here."

    "Growing up in Oklahoma, I know exactly what tornadoes can do and the effect they can have on people's lives," Bradford said. "When Adam asked me to come down here, definitely we wanted to get down here and help out as much as we could."

    More Rams wanted to make the trip, but the plane was too small.

    "I asked 'De' how many seats we had on the plane, and he said a maximum of five guys," Goldberg said. "Well, I'm one, and the first four guys I asked said sure, let's do it, and they were super-excited and enthusiastic about it.

    "The word got out that we had a charter down to Joplin, and my phone blew up. I had probably 25 calls and another five guys at practice this morning -- we have practices players only -- and all the O-line was like 'why can't I go?' We're going to need a 747 next time, but that shows the character of the guys on our team."


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    supachump is offline Registered User
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    Re: Bradford, Teammates Provide Smiles In Joplin

    Very nice gesture.

    I gotta wonder. Couldn't some of these guys just hop on a commercial plane to Joplin if they couldn't fit on the charter? Or is there no major airport around there?

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    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Bradford, Teammates Provide Smiles In Joplin

    Nice gesture indeed, Supa.

    The devastation in the affected areas is enormous. Great to have 'local' NFL players visit these people and help in whichever way they did. Sincere smiles in Joplin right now are a strong support. // Thanks for the article, Mike.

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    Re: Bradford, Teammates Provide Smiles In Joplin

    Quote Originally Posted by supachump View Post
    Very nice gesture.

    I gotta wonder. Couldn't some of these guys just hop on a commercial plane to Joplin if they couldn't fit on the charter? Or is there no major airport around there?
    I live in a small town less than 15 miles away from Joplin, and frequently visit. The devastation has been awful, and I was ecstatic to see the leader of my team extend his hand to the people of Joplin. I've already spoken to numerous people my age who now have the utmost respect for him. It's a good feeling for them in this time of need.

    Side note: The nearest major airport that I am aware of is in Springfield, which is roughly 2 hours away if you take I-44 all the way.

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    RealRam's Avatar
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    Re: Bradford, Teammates Provide Smiles In Joplin

    From the STL Rams official website, May 27, 2011:


    Rams to Donate $25,000 to Aid Disaster Relief


    ST. LOUIS, MO – The St. Louis Rams are contributing $25,000 to help aid the relief effort in Joplin, Mo. and St. Louis following the devastating tornadoes that recently hit the areas.

    “The St. Louis Rams are proud to make this pledge to the American Red Cross and Salvation Army to help the Joplin and St. Louis communities. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of the families impacted by these disasters,” Rams Chief Operating Officer Kevin Demoff said.

    The Rams’ contribution will be divided equally between the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army. In addition to the $25,000 pledge, the organization will match any Rams' staff contributions.

    Fans can donate to the American Red Cross by visiting their website, American.redcross.org, and contributions to the Salvation Army can be made by logging on to Salvationarmyusa.org.

    The Rams are working with relief agencies and the team’s corporate partners to develop a comprehensive plan to provide further aid once the ongoing need has been determined.

    "Our initial discussions with relief agencies have highlighted that the primary need right now is for cash donations,” Demoff said. “The generosity of those in our community in donating water, food and other items has been outstanding. The Rams and our outstanding corporate partners are mobilized to continue our support throughout the weeks and months ahead.”

    In addition to the team's financial contributions, the organization has made several efforts to assist those in the St. Louis area that were impacted by the Good Friday tornadoes in April.

    Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo and his wife Maria joined Rams cheerleaders and alumni at a telethon to raise funds for those impacted. The Spagnuolos and company answered phones for the event organized by KTVI Fox Channel 2, and the Salvation Army collected more than $45,000 in pledges from the telethon.

    Also, many members of the Rams organization, including Spagnuolo and the entire coaching staff, have volunteered their time to help remove debris from the yards of families in the Ferguson, Mo. area. The groups volunteered through the United Way and worked with AmeriCorps.
    I imagine more contributions from the Rams will follow either in time and/or money.
    Last edited by RealRam; -05-29-2011 at 01:02 AM. Reason: Remove <www.> links in article

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