FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Throughout the 2021 season, the Kraft family and the New England Patriots Foundation continued its Celebrate Volunteerism initiative by teaming with nonprofit organizations to educate fans about the need for volunteering, highlighting deserving volunteers from across the region and seeking to inspire Patriots fans to become lifelong volunteers.
The foundation presented a weekly "Patriots Difference Maker of the Week" award, which recognizes deserving volunteers who go above and beyond to support their New England communities. Seventeen individuals each representing a different charitable organization were celebrated throughout the season.
On Jan. 11, the Kraft family and the Patriots Foundation hosted a virtual celebration for the 2021 honorees. Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, Patriots Foundation president Josh Kraft and Patriots and Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett participated in a video call to congratulate all of this year's winners.
"This is the 11th consecutive year that we've celebrated volunteers with our Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award," said Robert Kraft. "It's an opportunity to thank New Englanders who go above and beyond to improve their local communities. This year, we are honored to recognize 17 community heroes and the causes that they represent."
In honor of their outstanding volunteer efforts, each of the Patriots Difference Makers will receive a $5,000 grant to support the nonprofit organizations for which they volunteer.
"We are excited to once again recognize local volunteers with our Patriots Difference Maker of the Week Award," said Josh Kraft. "Each of these honorees has their own unique story of community service and we are proud to shine a light on the tremendous work they are doing. We would like to thank all of this year's Patriots Difference Makers for helping to build stronger New England communities."
During the virtual celebration, Robert Kraft also made the surprise announcement that Richard Jacobs of South Dartmouth, Mass. was selected as the 2021 Patriots Difference Maker of the Year. As part of this recognition, Angel Flight Northeast will receive a $20,000 donation.
Since 1996, Angel Flight Northeast has donated more than 100,000 free flights to provide patients with access to specialized medical care that is not readily available in their area. Since its inception, Angel Flight Northeast has flown patients more than 14 million miles.
The nonprofit relies on volunteer pilots, like Richard, to offer their services free of charge to ensure that distance is never an obstacle for those who need life-saving medical care. Richard has been with the organization since its inception, completing more than 800 flights. He is always on call and is ready to donate his time, aviation fuel and airplane to help those in need.
As a go-to pilot, Richard has conducted many flights during the pandemic, ensuring patients arrive safely and under the best health conditions. He provides compassion and essential support to many during some of their darkest days.
"The last thing they have to worry about is how to get to their treatment," Richard said. "To save one life is to save the world."
The 2021 Patriots Difference Makers of the Week range in age from 17 to 83 and support communities from the southwest corner of Connecticut to northern Maine. Charitable causes included education, healthcare, mentoring, military support, youth development and more.
For more information about the Celebrate Volunteerism initiative and the 2021 Patriots Difference Makers of the Week, visit www.patriots.com/community/pdm.
2021 Patriots Difference Makers
|Maxwell Surprenant||Needham, MA||Catching Joy,Inc.||Needham, MA|
|Deborah Antanavica||Cherry Valley, MA||Deja New Leicester, Inc||Leicester, MA|
|Anita Johnston||Gorham, ME||My Place Teen Center||Westbrook, ME|
|Monica Brady-Myerov||Chestnut Hill, MA||Hospitality Homes||Boston, MA|
|Kenny Ouellette||Burlington, MA||People Helping People||Burlington, MA|
|Nathan Persampieri||Newton, MA||Understanding Our Differences||Newton, MA|
|Marc Cremer||North Easton, MA||Haley Cremer Foundation||North Easton, MA|
|Jennifer Caruso||Lynnfield, MA||Swirls Around the World||Lynnfield, MA|
|William Buckley||Bangor, ME||Challenger Learning Center||Bangor, ME|
|Jean Larson||Hamden, CT||A Place to Nourish Your Health||New Haven, CT|
|Cindy Brenner||New Haven, CT||Camp Rising Sun||Branford, CT|
|Tony Abreu||Fall River, MA||Angels Anonymous||Fall River, MA|
|Phyllis Brooks||Lexington, MA||English At Large||Woburn, MA|
|Richard Jacobs||S. Dartmouth, MA||Angell Flight New England||North Andover, MA|
|Phil Newth||Bartlett, NH||Little Angels Service Dogs||Bartlett, NH|
|Nancy Vitorino||Attleboro Falls, MA||Foster Forward||East Providence, RI|
|Nathan Larabee||Becket, MA||New England Adventures||Agawam, MA|