On the first day of training camp, the Patriots rolled right onto the field.
Along with CarMax, the Patriots surprised 30 military kids with brand new bikes after practice on Thursday, and though they may have been tired from a warm day, they didn't show it. The group of children, who attended camp with Massachusetts Military Support Foundation, lined up on the field, unaware that dozens of Patriots were riding up with their new modes of transportation.
Though many are taller than six feet, Patriots players pedaled over on the grass, smiling and laughing the whole way. And that joy was mutual, as the kids hopped on their new bikes and rode around the practice fields. Patrick Chung helped a young boy pop a wheelie. Jonathan Jones walked alongside a young girl, helping her keep her balance. Braxton Berrios smiled as he talked to a father, who said his son had just been asking for a new bike.
The timing couldn't have been more perfect, and for this group to receive a gift from their favorite team, it meant even more.
"It's an honor to be here, obviously, and just to be in this position where you can give, you can do those things and you can give hope and joy to kids," Braxton said. "I remember when I was a kid. That's who I looked up to. That's who I wanted to be when I grew up. I completely understand, and I relate to it. It's a great feeling."
Coast Guard Command Master Chief of First District William Hollandworth said that while soldiers sacrifice being away from their families and serving their country, their families also make a great sacrifice. To be a part of a day like today, to surprise children who may need a bright spot, is truly special.
"The sacrifices that not only we go through, but our families do as well really when you look at it," he said. "If you look at it holistically, we raise our hand, we take that oath to serve and by extension our families do as well. They're going along for the ride with this grand adventure, as I like to say. You never know what the next assignment is going to be or where the next adventure is going to be. We proudly go along, and they go with us."
This significance wasn't lost on Braxton, either.
"They're the real heroes. They're the ones who really go to war," he said. "We use that analogy all the time [in football], but they're the ones who really do. We come out here and bust our butts for two, two and half hours, and then we're able to decompress from all of it and realize what is really important in life."
Along with the Patriots Foundation, CarMax employees donated and built the bikes before practice. You can check out more photos from the surprise below.
For the second year in a row, the New England Patriots and CarMax teamed up to support military families by inviting local children of service members and their families to attend Patriots Training Camp on Thursday, July 25, 2019. CarMax associates built bikes for the children and the bikes were presented to the kids by Patriots players following practice.