NFL Hall of Famer visits Boys and Girls Club of Jackson County
Before Andre Reed was ever a wide receiver in the NFL, he got his start with the Boys and Girls Club in Pennsylvania. To bring it all full circle, the Hall of Famer is traveling across the country to give back to his grass roots. Today’s stop was at the Jackson County Civic Center in Pascagoula for the annual Steak and Steak Dinner.
“Stay true to your heart and whatever you want to do, you can do it. If you put your mind and your heart in it and have a passion for something, you can do it.” Seventeen years removed from his last down in the NFL, Andre Reed’s message is more important than his credentials. “You’re put in a situation where maybe you don’t have hope about something and then somebody gives you hope. And then you become something you never thought you would be.”
What Reed became was a 2014 inductee into the Pro Football Hall of Fame after spending 15 of his 16 NFL seasons with the Buffalo Bills. He played in four consecutive Super Bowls from 1991 to 1994, but he didn’t make the trip down to Pascagoula to brag about any of that. Boys and Girls Club Jackson County President David Reynolds said, “Everybody wants to talk to him about football, obviously, but what he wants to talk about, more importantly, is what the Boys and Girls Club meant to him as a youth and how that set up his life for the success that it had. And now he’s very, very fortunate and blessed that he can give back.”
“I mean when I do these kinds of talks I don’t like to talk about what I did, mostly. I kind of talk about where I came from and what the Boys and Girls Club has done for me. Of course, I’ve got to tell them ‘hey I did this, I did that,’ but I don’t elaborate on it a lot because that’s really not what it’s about,” said Reed.
What it is about is celebrating 25 years for the Jackson County Chapter and giving back to the 400 kids that it serves. So far, Reed has been to 18 clubs across 15 different states and his testimony has been the same at each stop. Boys and Girls Club of Jackson County Member Tylan Wilson said, “I’m going to listen and I know that he’s going to teach us something that we’re going to learn when we get older.”
“Telling the kids it doesn’t matter where you’re from or what economic or socioeconomic background you’re from. That the people that give here and the people that sponsor, they sponsor great futures and that’s what it’s about,” said Reed.
Tonight’s event included a silent auction fundraiser concluded by Reed’s keynote speech. Reed is also a member of the Boys and Girls Club of America Hall of Fame.