Gardner has established a strong track record of community service. He works with local elementary school and kindergarten classes daily throughout the school year assisting children one on one with schoolwork and reading progression. He is also a strong supporter of United Way of Kershaw County initiatives. Earlier this year, Gardner was elected president of Camden High School's Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
"Receiving the Carolina Panthers Community Captain title would be a great honor. Even if I do not get it, I still get the satisfaction of knowing I did all I could to help the people around me," said Gardner prior to the announcement.
Gardner, who currently maintains a 3.6 grade point average, has received college interest as a football student-athlete from Vanderbilt, South Carolina, Furman, and Wofford. His coach is Jimmy Neal.
The Community Captain Class of 2006 recipients so far this season are Kerry Neal of Bunn High School (Bunn, NC), Cameron Ford of T.L. Hanna High School (Anderson, SC), Reid Phillips of Myers Park High School (Charlotte, NC), and Gray Gardner of Camden High School (Camden, SC). Beginning with Week 1 and ending with Week 10 of the Carolina Panthers regular season schedule, the team will select ten elite high school student-athletes as Community Captains.
The 2006 Carolina Panthers Community Captain Class will be recognized during a special on-field ceremony at the Panthers final regular season home game versus the Pittsburg Steelers on December 17th.
Winners will receive an authentic Community Captain jersey and will have the opportunity to participate in select Panthers community outreach events with current Panthers players. Recipients are also featured on the Carolina Panthers Community Captain Horse Trailer on www.panthers.com.