NFL player donates 2K football tickets to first responders
Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford presented police, firefighters and EMTs with the tickets to thank them for the work they do
By Carlos Monarrez
The Detroit Free Press
DETROIT — Kelly and Matthew Stafford joined the Detroit Lions tonight in thanking police, firefighters and emergency medical technicians by presenting them with about 2,000 tickets to an exhibition game at Ford Field.
Team president Rod Wood joined Kelly Stafford to greet the first responders from Allen Park, Dearborn and Detroit and their families before they watched tonight’s practice.
“Kelly and Matthew approached us and said they wanted to do this,” Wood said. “We have tonight police and firemen and first responders, EMT specialists here and they wanted to be out there to greet them.
“And then we gave everybody that was line two tickets to one of our preseason games at home. And they were very appreciative. Kelly and I kind of went down each side of the line and met everybody and it was a great time.”
Matthew Stafford said he and his wife felt it was important to recognize the efforts of first responders.
"I think obviously it was great for the Lions and my wife and I to kind of get together," he said. "These people do a great job of keeping our community safe, saving lives, whatever it is, here and abroad. So we’re happy to give back and let them know we’re thinking about them."
The special invitation to the practice had been in the works for a while. But the free tickets to either one of the two home games were a surprise.
“They were all surprised and very appreciative,” Wood said. “I’d give them two tickets and they were like, ‘Wow! Thanks.’ I gave two tickets to everybody. So there were families of four there and each of the four got two tickets and I told them to bring a friend.
“And hopefully they get to experience Ford Field and maybe they otherwise wouldn’t have gotten a chance to do that. Hopefully they enjoy themselves and get to come back.”
Wood said he did a little more work than Kelly Stafford when it came to actually handing out the tickets.
“I was kind of joking with Kelly that I was going a little bit faster than her,” he said, “but I was taking less selfies with the fans than she was.”
At a time when tension surrounds police-community relations across the country, Wood said it was important for Lions players to represent themselves and the team in a positive manner.
“I don’t know that we tell them anything specifically,” Wood said of players, “other than try to build a culture where they understand what we expect. And (coach Jim Caldwell) has very high standards for the players and he makes that very clear as well as making sure when they’re part of the community, both with law enforcement and other people in the community, that they represent not only the Lions but themselves in a very positive and professional manner.
“And I think for the most part we’ve got a great group of guys that have done that. We’ve not had the kind of problems that other teams have had and I’m very proud of that.”
Copyright 2016 the Detroit Free Press