Jaguars punter Bryan Barker, a Jacksonville Beach native and one of eight Jaguars players that have been a part of the team since its inaugural season in 1995, was named today as the Jacksonville Jaguars-Robert W. Baird & Co. Community Leader of the Year at a luncheon at ALLTEL Stadium.
Barker and his wife, Leah, accepted a $3,000 charity donation from team officials for the LET US PLAY! Foundation, the non-profit organization they established in 1996 to motivate inner-city girls to recognize the lifelong benefits connected with sports and education.
Barker is one of the team's most active players in the community, and his foundation annually sponsors a sports camp for girls and a running event just for kids, the Junior 2K. The run helps raise funds to establish a permanent scholarship endowment at the University of North Florida. A four-year scholarship will be awarded each year to a LET US PLAY! Camp graduate. Barker's efforts in the community also include talks at local elementary schools and civic clubs as well as attending numerous fund-raisers.
"I'd like to thank the Jaguars and Robert W. Baird & Co. for recognizing all of us," said Barker. "We represent a team of many more individuals and athletes who are committed to work in the community. And not necessarily in just giving back to the community, but in doing what we know is right and what we enjoy doing - helping others."
Three other players, cornerback Fernando Bryant, offensive tackle Leon Searcy and quarterback Mark Brunell, were also recognized during the luncheon. The Community Leader Award was presented monthly during the NFL season with players receiving $500 charity donations. Bryant was honored in September, Searcy in November and Brunell in December. Barker, the October winner, was selected among the four as the overall winner.
Representatives from several non-profit organizations were also recognized at the luncheon, including Hubbard House, the Lee Boys & Girls Club and the Mark Brunell Foundation.