News: Reaching out to the community
Story by Staff Sgt. Peter Berardi
SAN ANTONIO - It was a dreary overcast day outside, but things were about to warm up for some of the patients at Methodist Children's Hospital in San Antonio, Jan. 1, 2014.
Players of both East and West U.S. Army All-American Bowl teams, along with a soldier mentor and coaches, visited children in the emergency wing in an attempt to brighten their day.
Players autographed mini-footballs for the surprised kids and also posed for photos with them and their parents.
“It's a good experience getting to see all the kids that have goals and dreams just like us,” said Connor Humphreys, from Central Catholic High School, Portland, Ore.
“I think it's a blessing because anytime you see children that are sick it puts everything into perspective,” added Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Kishel, from 5th Recruiting Brigade in San Antonio. “Football's a game, and you can be a soldier, but when you see children sick all bets are off and it's about the children.”
Along with visiting the hospital Kishel was there to mentor the players and show them the many things the Army can offer them.
“I think it's good because we can bring some discipline to them (the players), show them how to handle themselves,” Kishel said. “They need to know that the Army is a big part of the All-American Bowl. It also gives them a chance to actually speak to a soldier, a lot of them haven't even met a soldier before, and hear how our life is.”
Throughout the day, players got to learn a little about what it takes to be a soldier and the opportunities offered.
“It's pretty cool to see their philosophy on things,” Humphreys said. “I think it's a great opportunity for us to see the Army connected to football. It's a great experience for us.”
Visiting the hospital was just one thing the players got to do during the lead up to the 14th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl at the Alamodome in San Antonio scheduled for Jan. 4, 2014.