It’s The Christmas Season For Bucs, Too

December 26th, 2011

Bucs general manager Mark Dominik greets former Air Force Staff Sgt. Andreas Bernt, who received a gift from the Bucs to help refurbish his home so it can become wheelchair accessible. Photo courtesy of Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Enough for the time being of the dire predictions for embattled Bucs coach Raheem Morris, the collapse of the defense or LeGarrette Blount being benched.

No, it’s still Christmastime. And that means helping the community and a couple of cool items Joe has been negligent about posting need to be acknowledged.

Last week. an Air Force veteran, who has been felled by a variety of illnesses from his service, needed his house refurbished because he is relegated to a wheelchair and the Bucs pitched in some $40,000 to help pay the costs, cites

The kitchen counters are too high. The doors in the house are too narrow. The bathroom isn’t accommodating for a person in a wheelchair.

Those problems and more, though, will soon be remedied, thanks to a $40,000 donation from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the work of Rebuilding Together Tampa Bay.

The organizations are teaming together to remodel the Tampa home of retired U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Andreas Bernt. Bernt has been dealing with a variety of serious medical problems, including lymphoma and transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder that has left him using a wheelchair.

Also, Metropolitian Ministries, which does much for the less-priviledged in the area, was running short of supplies to give children and put out a request to the community to render additional aid if they could.

Attacking the task like a hobbled quarterback, many Bucs defensive linemen came to the rescue, baring loads of toys and bikes for youngsters, so wrote multimedia master Scott Smith of

Help arrived on Thursday afternoon in the form of five large men carrying armfuls of toys, bicycles, board games and electronics to Metropolitan Ministries’ annual toy drive. With their combined weight tipping the scale at nearly one ton, Buccaneers’ defensive linemen Lamar Divens, Jovan Haye, Albert Haynesworth, Roy Miller and Frank Okam proved that they are big men with even bigger hearts as the crew perused the aisles of a local Wal-mart to collect toys for needy children.

“I just knew that when we all got together as a D-line that we could do something great,” Miller said. “I got the idea that we should put the money together, and it turned out to be a great thing. Who would have known that a couple hundred dollars could have done this and made some kids’ Christmas that special?”

Pooled together, the defensive linemen’s contributions was more like thousands of dollars in Christmas presents. The players filled several shopping carts to the brim with holiday toys and gifts and then delivered them to the nearby Ministries location. The players were overjoyed to participate in the holiday contribution spearheaded by Miller, even though they had just finished a 90-minute practice at One Buccaneer Place before their shopping spree.

Also last week, the team held its annual “Day of Giving,” where some 30 needy families were chosen by the United Way of families. The families then arrived at One Buc Palace for something other than a tour, so Smith writes.

The families were then split up into three groups and led out behind One Buccaneer Place. The assembly moved along the back of the facility towards the Buccaneers’ enormous weight room. Between the main building and the weight room is a breezeway, and as the children on hand surged around the corner into the breezeway they were greeted with another wonderful surprise. Lining both sides of the passageway was a bicycle for each child, helpfully tagged by name. Smaller children not ready for bicycles were given Big Wheel-type tricycles.

It took some time for the kids’ excitement over their new bikes to die down, but the group then learned that the Day of Giving still wasn’t over. At that point, three large buses pulled into view, ready to take the whole crowd to a nearby Target store, where the families were going to be sent on a shopping spree.

As upset as we are about how this football season has totally collapsed and as angry as some might be over the direction of the team, one thing is clear to Joe: The Bucs care about the needy and give back to the community.

Well done gentlemen. Well done.

3 Responses to “It’s The Christmas Season For Bucs, Too”

  1. Capt.Tim Says:

    God Bless Guys. No man stands taller, than when he bends to help a child!
    Good work indeed!

  2. squadoosh Says:

    It does put it all in perspective and what we get upset about is just entertainment at the end of the day.
    It is great to see that they are giving these people a helping hand…good job!
    Now if we could put a respectable team on the field everything would be wonderful!

  3. Chiman Says: