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A special night


More than 25 players and coaches served as celebrity waiters for the Morton's Medicine and Miracles event last night at Morton's Steakhouse to benefit Shands Jacksonville and Wolfson Children's Hospital. The event's presenting sponsor was Smith Hulsey & Busey.

Guests were served and entertained by the celebrities and enjoyed a full course meal. Jaguars linebackers coach Mark Duffner served as event chairman while former Jaguar Jeff Lageman was the emcee.

The celebrities earned extra money for the Children's Miracle Network by collecting as many tickets as possible as tips. Tight end Ernest Wilford won the Best Overall Waiter Award for collecting the most tips. Linebacker Kirk Morrison was voted by guests as the Most Amusing Waiter. Unfortunately, kicker Josh Scobee was honored with the Clumsiest Waiter Award.

Alex Ross was this year's Celebrity Miracle Child and his mother, Lisa Dillard, gave an emotional speech to the attendees about the importance of Children's Miracle Network in their lives.

Ross, 17 years old, suffered a gunshot wound to the head on Jan. 6 and spent 29 days in Shands fighting for his life.

"I really had no idea about the organization before I was told my son had three hours to live," Dillard said. "They have been a tremendous help to our family. I urge all of you to remember that one simple phone call can drastically change your life forever so don't take anything for granted."

Ross has developed a close relationship with Jaguars safety Reggie Nelson and several other players. Nelson served as the waiter at Ross' table.

Additional players who served as waiters included Wilford, Morrison, Scobee, Sean Considine, Daryl Smith, Aaron Kampman, Eben Britton, Maurice Jones-Drew, David Garrard, Kassim Osgood, Gerald Alexander and Justin Durant.

Other Jaguars staff at the event included owners Delores Barr Weaver and Wayne Weaver, general manager Gene Smith, head coach Jack Del Rio, special teams coordinator Russ Purnell, assistant defensive backs coach Thom Kaumeyer, offensive line coach Andy Heck, defensive line coach Joe Cullen, defensive backs coach Cory Undlin, offensive assistant Ron Heller, assistant wide receivers coach Johnny Cox, quarterbacks coach Mike Shula and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker.

Children's Miracle Network is dedicated to improving health and welfare of all children by raising funds and awareness for the pediatric programs at UF & Shands Jacksonville and Wolfson Children's Hospital. The founding principle of Children's Miracle Network is that all funds raised stay locally to improve the health care for children in the community.

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