With dropping temperatures, rain and gusty winds on Thursday afternoon, it was a stark reminder to Brandon Bolden that he was back in New England, but he was still all smiles.
"This weather let's you know you're back in town," he said.
Brandon and several of his teammates were on hand at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine, running football drills for kids. April is Month of the Military Child, and in honor of that, Isaiah Wynn, Joe Cardona, Ted Karras, Cole Croston, Calvin Munson and Obi Melifonwu helped about 100 boys and girls master the basics of football.
"They're getting some running back drills, a little bit of Ivan Fears. Eight years I've had with him. I hope they get a little bit out of it," Brandon said.
While kids were mastering taking handoffs from Brandon and Ted, Joe helped the group learn the art of the spiral, though he said his quarterbacking skills were no threat to the team's starter.
"I think Tom's job is safe," he said with a laugh.
The day was even sweeter for Joe, who grew up in a military family and is currently serving in the Navy while competing in the NFL.
"Being from a military family and a military child myself and then also my affiliation now with the Navy, it means a lot to give back to our service members and also those that support our service members," Joe said. "Being here at the shipyard, it's a vital piece to the submarine fleet of the Navy. Giving back to the kids that serve along with their parents when they're working long hours and away from home, [their sacrifice] is really appreciated by my teammates and me. To come out and support the kids, it's awesome."
As the kids bounded through blocks and routes, it was clear to MWR Director Gary MacLeay the impact a day like this has on those whose parents serve in the military.
"Those of us who have gone through that as military brats, we understand what these kids go through," he said. "It's nice that we can give back when we have the opportunity, and it's really nice when professional athletes come and give back too."
Thursday's visit to Portsmouth Naval Shipyard wasn't the only event hosted for military kids this week. Brian Hoyer, Brian Schwenke and Ufomba Kamalu visited Joint Base on Cape Cod on Wednesday for a Football for You event. You can check out photos from both events in the gallery below.
In honor of Month of the Military Child in April, the New England Patriots players, cheerleaders and alumni hosted a Football For You skills clinic on Joint Base Cape Cod on Wednesday, April 17 and at another at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine the following day. Brian Hoyer, Brandon Bolden, Ted Karras, Isaiah Wynn and Joe Cardona were among the Patriots teaching kids the basics of football.