Browns cornerback Denzel Ward with Garfield Principal Dora Bechtel
West Park - A day full of surprises for students at James A. Garfield Elementary School in Cleveland only got better after a well-known football star stopped by to lend a helping hand.
Photos courtesy of Kyle Cornell / WTAM 1100
Cleveland Browns rookie Denzel Ward, along with help from UnitedHealthcare, Coats for Kids and the Dreambuilders Foundation, provided students from Garfield Elementary with new winter coats.
A $20,000 UnitedHealthcare grant to Ward, along with the Dreambuilders Foundation, funded the purchase of the new coats through Coats for Kids Cleveland.
Ward was on hand at Garfield Elementary to support the initiative and joined employee volunteers from UnitedHealthcare to help fit and cloth all 560 students with their new coats.
"Since i've been young, I've always wanted to do things like this. Go into the community and make a difference. It was really special, and to see all the kids smiling and getting coats was awesome", says Ward, the Browns 2018 first round pick out of Ohio State.
"It's the perfect time of year for this, with it being the holiday season and many of our kids needing coats," says first year principal at Garfield Dora Bechtel. "I told Coats for Kids, I have over 500 students, are you sure we are going to have enough for everyone? Then they told me about Denzel's involvement with Dreambuilders. It's just a great time for them."
Ward, who received a rousing reception from the students, volunteers and teachers present, threw mini footballs into the crowd of kids at the event in the school's gym, signed autographs and handed out coats to a third grade class from the school.
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