Before he takes the field Sunday to take on the Seattle Seahawks, Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks will be tackling a much greater opponent — the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan.
As a result of the devastation caused by Hurricane Ivan in his hometown of Pensacola, Florida, Brooks and the Bucs have organized a program to collect monetary donations from fans prior to this Sunday’s game between the Bucs and Seahawks at Raymond James Stadium.
“It’s not good, to be honest with you,” Brooks said of the damage caused in Pensacola. “It’s good in terms of people that I know, lives were spared. As far as the damage in terms of people’s homes and our streets in Pensacola, is not real good. It’s very tragic. At the same time I feel we’re very fortunate that a lot of our friends did advance through it and didn’t include any lives. I am just trying to do my small part in helping our city build itself back up.
“I’ve seen the pictures and also I’ve gotten the stories that you guys are not getting. In terms of a lot of elderly families that I know, (they) have lost everything. It’s very hard, to be honest with you, and it’s very stressful. Again that’s what really got me going in this project. Not just this week, but continuing on and do everything I can, everything through my foundation to raise funds to help out our community in Pensacola. Because the pictures don’t tell the story of what that storm did to our town.”
The collection points for monetary donations on Sunday will be set up at each of the four entry gates and two club entrances at Ray-Jay, which will open at 2:05 p.m. Members of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleaders will staff the entrances. Any fan who donates money will receive the opportunity to fill out a form to be randomly selected to receive autographed merchandise from Brooks.
“The first thing again is starting with the donations at the stadium,” Brooks said. “We are asking fans that come to the game on Sunday if you can leave a dollar, or leave a quarter, leave something in an effort to help us build. And again, this is personal. Through my foundation, I know where the money is going. I’m working with various organizations in Pensacola. I’m reaching out to the people of our town. And again, our team, I’m bringing it to our team, my teammates; we are going to try to do all we can.”
Brooks will also donate $1,000 for each tackle he makes against the Seahawks. All funds collected will be distributed to Hurricane Ivan relief efforts.
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