(LeRoys Butler surrounded by kids)
by Troy Sparks
Green Bay Packer Hall of Famer and Super Bowl champion LeRoy Butler didn’t forget his first trip to a thrift store as a kid in Jacksonville, FL, and his eyes were set on one thing. “I remember my mother taking us down to the Salvation Army,” he said.
“I remember going in there and getting a pair of shoes. And when I got there, most of the kids ran towards the toys.
“And I ran towards the nice pair of Chuck Taylor gym shoes, those Converse type shoes. I never forget that. That was one of my first pair of gym shoes.”
It was a no-brainer for Butler to participate in the Salvation Army Red Kettle Christmas Campaign this year. Butler will share his story at the kickoff event, Saturday, Nov. 10, on the State Fair Park grounds near the Pettit Center from 4-7 p.m. Gilbert Brown, William Henderson and Gary Ellerson will join Butler on stage in support of the event.
Despite the success that Butler had as an NFL player and a proven winner, he always kept things in perspective. Butler never let that success get to his head.
“I’m from the inner city,” Butler said. “I’m from a single-parent home, African-American and from the projects. It was just rough for me. I never forgot my roots, and my work with the Salvation Army helps keep me grounded and reminds me of where I came from.”
Butler has done some work with the Salvation Army in the past, so he’s no stranger to doing charity events. He plans to be one of the bell ringers sometime in December. Butler will host his first annual new coat and toy drive that same month.
Entertainment for the kickoff event will feature the Radio Disney Team. There will be a sleight of hand magician and a Salvation Army captain food fight and caricature artists.
Music will be provided by the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Salvation Army Brass Ensemble.
The Red Kettle Bounce House will be on display for everyone to see. There will be free food, hot cocoa, nachos, popcorn and snow cones. The finale of the evening will be the lighting of the thermometer.
If you want to support the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Christmas Campaign, visit their website at SAmilwaukee.org.
The Salvation Army provided 116,686 meals through their Feed the Kids Summer Meals Program. In the Salvation Army’s 23-year history of the summer meal program, they provided 8,848 more meals than any other time during that period.
Butler helped serve meals this past summer for the Salvation Army. The organization served over 2.3 million meals since 1989.
They also gave over 100,000 toys to children of low-income and unemployed families through their toy shop and almost 11,000 meals to families on Christmas Day through the Family Feast event. The Salvation Army gave nearly 4,000 gifts to children of incarcerated parents, provided over 61,000 nights of lodging, medical care, food pantry baskets and helped with rent assistance.
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