LB Ryan Nece admitted to getting a little help filling out his own tax return
April 15 looms on the calendar for taxpayers the way the first day of training camp does for Tampa Bay Buccaneer players: It's a day filled with both anticipation and dread.
Since it's the deadline for filing returns from the previous year, April 15 always causes an overload at the post office. Hundreds of taxpayers line up in their cars, some knowing they will be getting a refund, some expecting to send a little extra back to Uncle Sam. The pressure of deadline day – like that on Buc players as they enter camp planning to fight for starting jobs – can be intense.
That's why Buccaneers linebacker Ryan Nece, for the second year in a row, tried to help those last-minute filers relax on one of the most stressful days of the year. On Thursday, as taxpayers streamed into the St. Petersburg Postal Processing and Distribution Center, Nece was on hand to help collect tax forms and put smiles on some faces.
"I realize it can be a stressful day for a lot of people," said Nece. "Any time you have the opportunity to relieve some stress and meet some people in the community, then I'm all for it."
Nece wasn't the only attraction at St. Petersburg's main postal facility. It was actually a rather remarkable scene, as the people waiting in line were treated to free bottles of water, coupons for a local fast food restaurant, a remote broadcast by a local radio station and, of course, the opportunity to receive Buccaneer goodies from Nece.
Events such as these have actually prompted some taxpayers to purposely wait until the last minute. In fact, it's somewhat of an annual tradition for St. Pete resident Devon Bern.
"I like to wait until the last minute so I can take part in the festivities," said Bern. "It's a good time and it provides me with some entertainment."
Passing out stickers, window clings and team pictures to all the cars, and Buccaneers pennants to all the children that accompanied their parents on their journey to the post office, Nece engaged many of the eleventh-hour taxpayers in conversation to pass the time. He answered the obvious questions concerning both the Buccaneers and Nece's own tax return.
"Actually, I did mine really early this year," said Nece, who has the advantage of a degree in Business Economics from UCLA. "I got mine done about four weeks ago, so I was glad and relieved and got that monkey off my back. Sometimes circumstances come up and you have to wait until the last minute but as long as you get them in, you're okay."
Nece first claimed that he had spent long, dark hours pouring over 1040's, W2's, pie charts and graphs, but quickly gave up the ruse.
"I sat up all night with my calculator, my graphing calculator" said the Tax Day veteran. "No, I'm just kidding. I had someone do it for me. I couldn't deal with it. I needed somebody to take that stress away from me."
In recent years, the Tax Day event at the St. Petersburg Post Office has taken on a life of its own and, according to St. Petersburg Postmaster Tom Pawlowski, Nece is a big part of that.
"It's been a real popular thing," said Pawlowski. "It really helps to bring people out here. We try to make it as fun as we can and he's an important part of that."
Nece showed his appreciation for the postal workers and volunteers who were working at distributing the goodies and collecting the tax forms by passing out Buccaneers pennants to everyone he could find and autographing team pictures.
All in all, Nece's efforts made a very stressful day for many a little less, uh, taxing.
Join the Jurevicius Team
In March, Joe Jurevicius and his wife, Meagan, attended the Easter Seals Corporate VIP Campaign Kick-Off Luncheon to help raise much-needed funds for children with special needs and/or disabilities. Since losing their young son, Michael William, to a complicated disease last year, Joe and Meagan have been tireless crusaders in the fight against childhood disease and illness. Now, the couple is asking for your help in supporting the March of Dimes WalkAmerica 2004 on Saturday, April 24 at the University of Tampa's Plant Park. You can help by joining the Jurevicius' WalkAmerica team.
To sign up for the Jurevicius' team, use the following procedure at WalkAmerica.org:
- Click on the pink Register button * On the registration page, select 'I am walking with a company, school, organization, family or other group' and click on the pink submit button * Scroll to the bottom of the page of listed organizations to find 'Search Our Database' * Enter 'Michael Jurevicius' and click on the pink search button * On the results page, click on the pink 'Memory of Michael Jurevicius', and repeat that procedure on the following page * Input your information on the registration form to join the Jureviciuses' team.
If you are unable to register online, you can also register at 6:30 a.m. on the day of the walk.
If you are unable to make it to the WalkAmerica 2004 event, you can still contribute by making a donation to The March of Dimes. You can send donations to March of Dimes, Memory of Michael Jurevicius/Research, 405 N. Reo St., Suite 105, Tampa, FL 33609.
The funds collected from the WalkAmerica event support programs of research, community service, and education. These funds have led to such lifesaving breakthroughs as initiation of special intensive care nurseries in hospitals to care for sick newborns, research leading to the first successful fetal surgery to correct birth defects, research on surfactant therapy, which helps babies born with under-developed lungs to breathe, folic acid education campaign to prevent neural tube defects and community grants to help women get prenatal care.
The March of Dimes is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality. Founded in 1938, the March of Dimes funds programs of research, community services, education and advocacy.
For more information on the March of Dimes WalkAmerica 2004 visit WalkAmerica.org or call Becky Clay at (813) 287-2600 ext. 28.