The Miami Dolphins were not focusing on football at Hard Rock Stadium on Friday.
Volunteers from the team and healthcare company Cigna assembled care packages for troops overseas, including cards for the holiday season.
“Guys are putting their lives on the line everyday for us, and it’s only right for us to give back to them, especially at this time of year,” former Dolphins cornerback Pat Surtain said.
Growing up with a father in the U.S. Army, Surtain said the project feels personal.
“We use the term lightly as football players: going to war, you know, every Sunday,” Surtain said, “but those guys are putting their lives on the line for the freedom of us over here, so they are literally are going to war.”
“There’s a lot of heartfelt messages that are going into these cards, and hopefully, it’ll resonate,” Dolphins volunteer Danielle Pierce said.
As many as 4,500 soldiers around the world are set to receive the packages, each containing items the servicemen and women have specifically mentioned as some of their favorites.
“Love to have a piece of candy, a Snickers bar, some Juicy Fruit, so we’re providing those services today,” Cigna volunteer Scott Evelyn said.
For the volunteers, the real goal is to make sure those deployed around the globe know they’re not forgotten, especially during the holiday season.
“I think when you’re given an opportunity to give back in an impactful way, such as this, it just really brings out the holiday spirit and makes you feel really grateful for what you have and what you can give,” Pierce said.
All of the care packages will be shipped off within the next two days to ensure that they make it overseas in time for Christmas.