The New England Patriots Charitable Foundation continued the ongoing Celebrate Volunteerism initiative with special weekly focuses on "Arts Volunteerism" (Oct. 28- Nov. 1-3) and "Veterans and Military Volunteerism" (Nov. 4-10).
The Foundation teamed with Dance Complex; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Performing Arts Center of MetroWest and Vermont Symphony Orchestra for the week of Oct. 28 as part of arts week. On Nov. 2, students presented two uniquely decorated Celebrate Volunteerism banners to Patriots wide receiver Matthew Slater and former Patriots linebacker Steve King. Later that evening, former Patriots linebacker Ilia Jarostchuk and linebacker Eric Alexander teamed with students for an improvisational skit workshop in Framingham, Mass.
During the week of Nov. 4, the Foundation teamed with Raytheon in cooperation with the Wounded Warrior Project, Operation Christmas Cards, Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund and Local Heroes for veteran and military volunteerism week. That Tuesday, Nov. 6, Patriots defensive end Jermaine Cunningham, kicker Steven Gostkowski, punterZoltan Mesko, long snapper Danny Aiken and former Patriots tackle Ed Ellis joined Patriots fans in the Patriots ProShop to create holiday cards benefiting military men and women serving overseas.
The Patriots continued this focus in several activities during the Patriots vs. Bills game on Nov. 11. In a pregame ceremony, more than 100 active military members joined members of the Kraft family to display a large American flag that spread the entire length of the field.
The game also featured a flyover from 439 Airlift Wing, a Color Guard ceremony performed by the Army National Guard and national anthem sung by the 215th Army Band's Voices of Freedom. During the game, all service men and women were asked to stand and be recognized and messages from military members serving overseas were played in-game. Prior to the game, the Foundation and $25,000 grand prize 2012 Myra Kraft Community MVP Award Winner Lou Cimaglia, Sr. from Local Heroes, joined Patriots partner Raytheon for a military care package event during Raytheon's pregame hospitality in The Hall at Patriot Place presented by Raytheon.
Also in recognition of Veterans Day, during the week leading up to the game, the Patriots unveiled a permanently unoccupied black seat in the south end of Gillette Stadium that was dedicated to the thousands of Patriots who remain unaccounted for as POW/MIA. The empty seat serves as a permanent memorial to honor the brave men and women who served our country and never returned home.
For more information about the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative, to pledge volunteer hours, nominate a "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week," to submit photos of volunteer work or to participate in an upcoming collection drive visit www.patriots.com/community/volunteerism.html.