DETROIT -- The Detroit Lions dedicated time from their rigorous schedule today to give back to their fans and their community.
The 15th annual Detroit Lions Luncheon presented by the Wisne family, hosted by the Detroit Economics Club, took place at Ford Field Wednesday afternoon – the event was sold out.
Proceeds from the event went to the Detroit Lions charities to benefit Think Detroit PAL youth football. Since 1991 Detroit Lions charities have denoted more than 5.7 million dollars to charities throughout Michigan.
Think Detroit PAL’s contact football league is one of the largest in the nation. With participation from kids age 7-14, the program supports roughly 3,000 boys in the youth football program as well as 1,000 girls in the associated cheerleading program.
Consisting of over 80 teams, the league season started this past Saturday. The teams are playing for a chance to compete in a league championship at Ford Field on November 12th.
The program offers the area’s youth the opportunity to learn the values of teamwork and dignity while building character as well as providing a productive and healthy activity.
As one prominent speaker illustrated, the program also can offer much more.
Detroit Police Chief Ralph L. Godbee, Jr. was a speaker at the event. He told a heartfelt story from his childhood, touching on his father’s medical struggles and how they impacted him as a growing boy as well as how Think Detroit PAL football helped fill the void.
“I played football, I was pretty good,” said Godbee “I’d like to think I was Michael Vick before he was Michael Vick… I don’t remember how many wins we had, how many losses we had when I played for the Eastside Cowboys. What I do remember is Coach Jackson. When my dad would have protracted stays in the hospital and I didn’t have an adult to talk to, didn’t have a significant male in my life when I was 12, 13 years old, I remember the opportunities to talk to coach Jackson…”
“When I didn’t even know whether my father would live, I remembered the fact that I could go to coach and talk to coach. Coach made some significant investments in my life.”
Godbee went on to explain the impact donations to the charity can have.
“We can double or triple the capacity so we can touch more young men, touch more young women, let them know the positive things they can do in life,” he said. “Invest in them so they understand the significant progress this city will make when we make that type of investment in young people… I am a product of Pal, I am a result of your investment.”
With the Lions roster and coaching staff represented. This event was also an opportunity for the Lions to give back to their fans, providing them the opportunity to dine with their favorite players.
But this event was about more than football. It was about helping the communities youth. It was about creating a better future for the city. It was about life.
Still, the excitement for the upcoming Lions season was too much to contain at times.
Speaker Michael Wisne, who was representing the Wisne family, spoke for all Lions fans.
“So we’re ready for another season of NFL football and everyone is feeling the electricity and I am as well,” Said Wisne. “There is a whole lot of buzz behind this team – our team – and why shouldn’t we feel excited? We have a team that is looking to compete every weekend and give us a reason to watch on Sunday.”
For more information on Think Detroit Pal you can visit thinkdetroitpal.org and for more information on the Detroit Economic Club you can visit econclub.org.