The Jacksonville Jaguars today donated $100,000, matched by a $100,000 grant by NFL Charities, to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to help victims of the fires that have afflicted Northeast Florida for the past month. The Jaguars' donation was announced by Wayne Weaver, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer for the Jaguars, and the NFL Charities grant was announced by Delores Barr Weaver, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Jaguars Foundation and also a member of the governing board of NFL Charities. In addition, WTLV-TV 12 President and General Manager Ken Tonning announced that his station is donating $20,000 to the Disaster Relief Fund.
In addition to the cash donation, the Jaguars will recognize the firefighters at the August 14th game against the New York Giants as well as the August 27 game against the Dallas Cowboys. The Jaguars are asking season ticket holders who will not be attending these games to return their tickets to the team. Those tickets returned will be matched by the Jaguars out of the team's available ticket inventory for distribution to area firefighters.
Wayne Weaver, in conjunction with the Jaguars partners - Deron Cherry, Laurie DuBow, Preston Haskell, Sandy McArthur, Tom Petway, David Seldin, Delores Barr Weaver and Ron Weaver - approached the NFL office about the participation of NFL Charities in this project.
"We have all seen the devastation and destruction of these fires," Wayne Weaver said in making the announcement. "As much a part of this community as the Jaguars are, I felt it was important for us to assist our neighbors in need. We want to provide a means of helping people get back on their feet, and at the same time recognize the heroic and tireless efforts of the firefighters who came to Northeast Florida from all across the region to help. This is been an inspirational example of teamwork from many separate fire departments, and a model of what communities can accomplish when people work together."
NFL clubs and NFL Charities have participated in similar relief efforts in the past, including Nashville, Tennessee for tornado relief, Miami and New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, following the Bay-area earthquakes, as well as after the Federal building bombing in Oklahoma City.
"We are pleased to support the Jaguars and the Red Cross in this relief effort," said NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue in authorizing the $100,000 NFL Charities grant. "The Jacksonville area has been tremendously supportive of the Jaguars and the NFL. We hope the lives disrupted by the fires will return to normal as quickly as possible."
"I am deeply moved by the extraordinary commitment of the Jacksonville Jaguars and NFL Charities to the American Red Cross and the people put in harm's way by the Florida fires," said Elizabeth Dole, President of the American Red Cross. "This generous gift will help the Red Cross - led by thousands of volunteers from all over the country - to provide hot meals, safe places to stay, comfort and hope to the families and communities who are struck so hard by disasters large and small each year. My heartfelt thanks goes to the NFL and the Jacksonville Jaguars because contributions such as theirs are the key to our ability to respond immediately when help can't wait."
"We are extremely grateful to the Jacksonville Jaguars and NFL Charities for their generous contributions to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund," said Jack Morgan, Chairman of the Board for the Northeast Florida Chapter of the American Red Cross. "The Northeast Florida Chapter would like to extend special thanks on behalf of the families in our region whose lives have been touched as a result of this wonderful gift."
At the news conference today, Wayne Weaver and Jaguars partners were joined by Robert Schweitzer and Skip Cramer from the Northeast Florida chapter of The American Red Cross, as well as government officials from several towns affected by the fires and fire department representatives from around Northeast Florida. NFL Charities was represented by Delores Barr Weaver as a member of the governing board of NFL Charities and a trustee for The United Way of Northeast Florida. The American Red Cross is a United Way agency, and The United Way is this year celebrating its 25th anniversary of partnership with the National Football League.
Jaguars ticketholders who wish to return their Giants or Cowboys game tickets for the firefighters may mail them to: Jacksonville Jaguars, Firefighters Tickets, P.O. Box 43010, Jacksonville, FL 32203. These tickets should be received at the Jaguars ticket office by Friday, July 31. Ticketholders who did not pick up their tickets last week during ticket pick-up can expect to receive their tickets in the mail by Friday, July 24.
The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce will coordinate the distribution of tickets to the firefighters through the local Chambers of Commerce in Northeast Florida. The local Chambers will contact all fire-fighting units in their area for distribution.