FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. CBS46 is fighting for our vets and so are the Atlanta falcons. For the fifth year in a row, Head Coach Dan Quinn hosted a group of veterans from the local chapter of Merging Vets and Players.
“It’s defiantly rewarding to put two communities together that represent team at the highest level,” said Coach Quinn.
It was a momentous occasion for the veterans, but it wasn’t just the novelty of meet and greet that made the event special.
“They live in the those apartments together that’s how they really building their brotherhood” said Air Force veteran Jessica Jones talking about the Falcons players training camp. “It kinda makes sense how veterans live in the barracks together, that’s how we learn how to be family,” added Jones.
Jones continued to describe the similarities between being in the military and a professional athlete, and it turns out the two unlikely pairs also have similar struggles when they take off the uniform.
“When you they get out and they take off their jersey, it's the same thing as us getting out of the military. They lose their tribe, you lose a sense of identity and who we want to be,” added Ben Darry.
But organization Merging Vets & Players, also know, as MVP, is pairing combat veterans and former professional athletes with the idea that after the uniform comes off both groups need help finding purpose.
“Having MVP here, nobody does team better than the military so the partnership between veterans and retiree players, these are two communities that know team better than anybody,” said Coach Quinn.
As part of his efforts, Quinn donated $75,000 to kick off the start of the fourth chapter of MVP. The celebration continued with the Falcons hosting 73 veterans at training camp. The vets met players, toured the facility, watched practice and they even had lunch with Quinn.
“When you’re around other folk that have put their bodies on the line and their lives on the line for a cause, whether that’s out here on the field or down range anywhere else, it’s the same sort of cut feeling’” said Darry.
And Jones agreed, “ They show us that they really care about veterans. They’re giving back back to the veterans. Meeting the players them having us here to watch practice it just make us feel special."
MVP hosts monthly events, to find out how you can participate visit www.vetsandplayers.org.