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Cole Strange launches new foundation to support military veterans

The New England Patriots guard hosted a movie night with military veterans on Tuesday to kick off his newest philanthropy endeavor: the Cole Strange Foundation.

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New England Patriots guard Cole Strange is not one for the spotlight, but last year, he recognized the power of his platform.

While actively volunteering with the Patriots Foundation throughout his rookie season, he realized the impact he could have as a professional athlete on his community and kicked around the idea of one day starting his own non-profit.

That all came to fruition Tuesday, with Strange hosting his inaugural "Patriots at the Movies" event to officially launch The Cole Strange Foundation.

"This event is the launch of my foundation and the first thing we're doing," Strange said, getting ready to greet the 60-ish military veterans who were joining him at Patriot Place for drinks, snacks, and a screening of the newly released Gran Turismo film.

"The foundation is for veterans. Honoring military veterans and showing appreciation, but also focusing on people who have been injured in combat or are dealing with mental health challenges. This is just a way for everyone to come together and meet a bunch of our board members tonight."

According to Strange, there were a number of causes he contemplated dedicating his time to, but ultimately narrowed it down to the veteran community.

"I thought veterans would be a cool place to land because it's a group that I feel is overlooked a little bit," Strange said. "I just have a ton of respect for veterans -- I have a couple of family members who were in the military, my best friend is in the army -- so I thought it would be a cool place to use the foundation that I have."

Strange said he drew some inspiration from a community event he'd volunteered for with the Patriots Foundation.

Last April, he and two teammates worked with a foundation called "Homes For Our Troops" to build and landscape a home for Army veteran Rebecca Mann in Mattapoisett, Mass.

He left the day motivated to do more.

"It was incredible," Strange recalled.

"Not to make it all about Homes For Our Troops, but that was inspirational. This person's life was changed because of this. It's not like, 'Oh, thanks for your service, here's some chicken casserole.' We fixed up an entire home for them."

The Cole Strange Foundation is poised to make a similar impact -- especially for those wounded, physically or mentally, from the time they spent serving the country.

Tuesday's event was just the beginning.

The hope is through fundraising, the non-profit can provide grants to veterans who need resources or counseling to ensure they get the care they deserve.

"I appreciate you for your service," Strange said when asked if he had a message to those he hopes to help.

"It's something I have a ton of respect for. Growing up, it was always one of those things that I thought commanded a lot more respect than people playing in the NFL, even though that was always my dream. I love football, but this is life or death – real-world stuff, and I feel like it's overlooked a lot."

To support this mission go to https://givebox.com/524000 or follow @colestrangefdn on social media.

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