JACKSONVILLE – Thursday, October 28th is National First Responder Day, a day for all of us to recognize the brave and selfless work so many do daily to put our safety first. The Jaguars wanted to take an extra step saying, "Thank You."
The Jaguars Foundation and Academy Sports + Outdoors donated $5,000 to the Jacksonville Police Athletic League (PAL). PAL works to promote the prevention of juvenile crime and violence by building relationships among children, cops, and community through positive engagement.
This donation will help support Jacksonville PAL's boxing program and allow them to purchase new gym supplies and equipment. JaxPAL is incredibly thankful for the donation and plans to do a lot of good with that money.
"We are grateful for this opportunity," said Mary Bishop, Executive Director of JaxPAL. "This new updated equipment will allow JaxPAL to continue to recruit youth for the boxing program and allow youth a safe place to come and build positive relationships amongst their peers and the officers and volunteers."
JaxPAL is built on the idea that a young person who respects police officers is much more likely to respect the laws they enforce. The concept began with sports programs, but today they do much more.
"It will give our trainers and coaches the opportunity to better train our athletes," said Officer Waarum, JaxPAL Boxing Coordinator. "Our athletes will become stronger physically and mentally and be better prepared to enter the ring."
Former Jaguars wide receiver and tight end Ernest Wilford is now a police officer for the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office and is the perfect example why fostering relationships with law enforcement and is so important. Wilford was involved with multiple community events during his time with the Jaguars that gave back to first responders, showing him the opportunity for a great life after football.
Additionally, Academy Sports + Outdoors is offering military and first responders 10% off purchases in store and online from Oct 24 – Nov 14 to say thank you for all that they do for the community.
In celebration of National First Responders Day on October 28,2021, the Jaguars and Academy Sports surprised Jaguars Legend and Jacksonville Police Officer Ernest Wilford with a shopping spree for the Jacksonville Police Athletic League.