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Rainey, Bucs Make Community Impact

Posted Nov 21, 2013

Buoyed by their big performance against Atlanta on Sunday, RB Bobby Rainey and many of his Buccaneer teammates energetically threw themselves into a pair of community events on Tuesday

Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Bobby Rainey had a busy day on Sunday, as he became the first player in franchise history to record two rushing touchdowns and one receiving score in the same game. Rainey's breakout performance, which also included 163 rushing yards, played a large role in the Buccaneers’ 41-28 victory over visiting Atlanta, and led to NFC Offensive Player of the Week honorsfor the young back.  As it turned out, that was just the start of a very impactful week for Rainey, as well as some of his teammates.

-- RB B. Rainey and his teammates rolled up their sleeves to help out in the community on Tuesday
Early Tuesday morning, Rainey led a Buccaneer contingent off the field to help kick off another eventful team effort in the Bay area community.

At 9 a.m., Rainey, cornerback Marc Anthony, tackle Jace Daniels, cornerback Rashaan Melvin and tight end Matt Veldman – as well as Buccaneers Cheerleaders Cassie and Norie – teamed up with UnitedHealthcare employees and the nonprofit organization Volunteers of America of Florida to provide new paint and landscaping for the Arbor Place Apartments in Tampa. The facility, overseen by Volunteers of America of Florida, supports people with mental illnesses, chronically homeless citizens, military veterans and their families.

“Growing up, sometimes you dream about being in the position [to give back]," said Rainey.  "Actually being in that position, you have to hold to that.  That’s one of my duties as a Christian athlete – to do those things, not just talk about it, but actually do it and let my actions speak for themselves.”

In what was described as a "mini-extreme home makeover" by event participants, the facility residents benefitted from a fresh coat of paint, new plants and mulch, fitness equipment and culinary updates.

“We’re here to make a difference,” said Janet Stringfellow, CEO of Volunteers of America of Florida. "It's amazing how the Buccaneers responded to the call to action to help us go the extra mile, to show this community that we care, that we love them, and that we are here together.”

Added Sarah Urrutia, another Volunteers of America of Florida representative: “I think that it is exciting and very relevant to the residents that we serve here at Arbor Place Apartments to have these upgrades made. If you see the new kitchens in the apartments, they’re just wonderful. This will beautify the area and make it a more welcoming and friendly place here.”

In the afternoon, the Buccaneers carried the positive vibes over to Pinellas County, where another group of players and cheerleaders promoted positive health and nutrition to some of the Buccaneers’ youngest and most ardent fans. 

To continue the day of community service, linebacker Jonathan Casillas, long snapper Andrew Economos, safety Keith Tandy and linebacker Dekoda Watson – along with Buccaneers Cheerleaders Ingrid, Julia, Lacy, and Saundra – journeyed to Fairmount Park Elementary School to congratulate students and teachers for being named the Buccaneers' 2013 Play 60 Super School.

“These kids work hard and play hard,” said Nina Pollauf, principal at Fairmount Park. “I don’t think Fairmount Park has ever done anything like this before, so this means a lot to these kids. They idolize sports stars and hearing from them about the importance of education means the world. They hear it from us all the time, but to hear it from their role models makes a world of difference.”

During the visit, the group hosted a special assembly where they spoke to students about the importance of staying active and eating healthy, which included an interactive question-and-answer session with select students. At the assembly’s conclusion, the players joined with Bright House Networks Senior Director of Corporate Communications, Joe Durkin, in presenting the school with a $10,000 NFL Play 60 grant for health and wellness programming or equipment.

“Education is always stressed, and I’m very glad to hear that from the Buccaneers themselves,” said Sheryl Copeland, a music teacher at Fairmount Park. “It lets the students know that even some of the big guys, your heroes and some of your sports [idols], they understood the importance of what education meant to them in order for them to get to the place where they are now.”

The NFL Play 60 Super School contest selected one school in each of the 32 NFL markets and two non-NFL markets. Winning schools all received a $10,000 NFL PLAY 60 grant for health and wellness programming or equipment and a visit from their local NFL team.

The Play 60 event wasn’t complete without a physical education class, as the players and cheerleaders then lead students in fitness activities, as part of the NFL's PLAY 60 campaign, which inspires kids to get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day.

“They showed tremendous energy the whole time we’ve been out here, and I can just imagine what they did to get out here,” added Casillas. “We’re just happy to be here doing something good for the kids.”