New York Jets’ wide receiver Eric Decker was recognized as this year’s “Hometown Hero” at the Gridiron Gala hosted by the United Way of New York City. The foundation honors a Jets and Giants player each year for their dedication to their community.
The Eric & Jessie Decker Foundation supports two unique campaigns; Decker’s Dogs and the couple’s anti-bullying initiative.
“It’s an honor to accept this award from United Way”, said Decker. “If you can impact a group of people’s lives, that makes such a ripple effect in our community and it our world. What we have done as far as raising dogs, giving to veterans, our anti-bullying campaign, those things that are important to us, very meaningful, and we want to make an impact where we can.”
Decker’s Dogs helps fund the rescue and care of service dogs for veterans that come home from war disabled or facing emotional problems like PTSD. Through the foundation, Decker’s Dogs directly supports the Freedom Service Dogs of America, a non-profit organization, committed to helping veterans in need.
From rescue to completion, Decker’s Dogs invests approximately $25,000 per dog. Since 2013, the foundation has successfully placed six dogs with veterans in need, and has two more dogs currently in training.
In addition to Decker’s Dogs, the foundation also has an anti-bullying campaign. The New York Jets have a partnership with the STOMP Out Bullying organization, and the couple wanted to be the representatives for the cause.
The Deckers’ visited schools around the greater New York area to educate students and teachers about the problems and prevention methods of bullying. The team also donated 1,000 prevention toolkits to help spread awareness and serve as a resource for parents.
Decker’s community service was also recognized by the New York Jets, as the wide receiver earned the team’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Along with the award, Decker will receive $5,000 for his foundation.
“It’s a great award, probably the biggest nomination I’ve gotten in my career”, said Decker. “Getting to the Super Bowl, statistics, they’re all great things, but I think the bigger picture is what you do outside the building. Our foundation is still young and I feel like we’re at a good starting point. We want to build it into something bigger and special. To be recognized for it is definitely humbling.”
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