Redskin Players Serve Pizza, Sign Autographs at Charity Event by Mike Stancik, Loudoun Times Mirror – December 23, 2013
With the Washington Redskins struggling with a less than stellar record, it isn’t necessarily providing much hope on the field during the holiday season. But off the field, players are still taking advantage of every opportunity to give back to the fanbase that has supported them unconditionally.
A fine example of this was evident at The Dons’ Wood-Fired Pizza in Sterling on Dec. 17, as several players were on hand to serve free pizza and sign autographs.
“It’s the holiday season, so it means even more to give back to the community as players,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “These people support us all year, regardless of our record, so tonight is the least we can do to show our gratitude.”
Hundreds of fans showed up on a chilly night to eat some tasty, albeit free pizza while also getting the chance to interact with the players that are shown on their televisions on Sundays. Kerrigan, Alfred Morris, Will Montgomery, Kedric Golston, and Kirk Cousins were all in attendance.
“Being in things like this during the holiday season, everyone wants to help out in any kind of way,” Golston explained. “I met Waleed about 8 years ago and I enjoy partnering with him for a great and noble cause. I love having my teammates out here as well, it’s definitely a blessing,”
Waleed Zarou, the manager of The Dons’, has been running this specific event for five years now. It all started with a strong friendship between Golston and Zarou, who said they gave out a record number of pizzas this year.
“These [players] are considered heroes in our society in many ways, they’re looked up to, and they know that,” Zarou said. “They use that platform to serve others, and these guys are great examples of that. When they’re having fun, others are having fun, and you can just feel that feeling in the air tonight.”
This year, the event was designed to support the Open Heart Foundation, an organization that Zarou and fellow businessmen have been running for about a year. The foundation’s mission is to continue to develop an educational system as well as a church system in western Africa, a place Zarou has been visiting for 14 years. 40 churches have already been established and a K-through-12 schooling system has been put in place.
While that project is a work in progress, the immediate goal of providing Redskin fans with a memorable event was a clear success. For players like Morris, who has been at nearly every charity event this season, it means a lot to interact with the fans that wear his No. 46.
“To be honest, I get as much out of it as all of these people,” Morris said candidly. “Even with our record being what it is, tonight shows how much impact we can have on the community.”