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Logo: Michael Banks

Jacksonville Realtor

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Camp Lejeune gets surprise visit from retired NFL players

January 17, 2011

Jacksonville is a close knit community that relies on its citizens to give back in any way that they can. A local charity called The Cage 4 Kids is an non-profit aimed at helping local families deal with the mental issues and monetary problems that accompany a family when a child becomes sick and needs lengthy and expensive hospital stays.

The Cage 4 Kids is trying to make the lives for sick children and their families easier by helping with costs and also sponsoring events where the kids can break down some of their stress with marital arts classes. The organization was started by Chico Santiago after his young child died from terminal illness. The cost was of his son’s medical bills was just another slap in the face for loosing his young son and he decided to start an organization that could help other families like his.

Santiago is active in local government and is on many committees for commerce and disabled rights. His goal is to bring other charities in the community together to provide the best help that they can for everyone. The Cage for Kids has many events planed for the upcoming year with all proceeds benefiting the charity. They are always looking for volunteers and appreciate the help; contact the Combat Club Martial Arts and Fitness, located at 925 N. Marine Boulevard or call 910-378-2003. The community will always be brighter with people like Santiago working to make the lives of others happier.

Camp Lejeune was in for a surprise when retired NFL players came to speak to the wounded warriors of Jacksonville. The NFL crew consisted of five professional footballers and native Quincy Monk who played for the New York Giants. The NFL players and the wounded worriers bonded over game on the television after talking with each other about similarities between their lives and losing hope after being sidelined.

It was one professional to another, helping each other with the idea of “being out of the game” but, that in no time the soldiers can return to the action and be wit their team mates- much like an injured or retired player leaving the game after a long career. Both situations can cause stress and it makes family relationships important, a common piece of advice from many of the players.

An important lesson can be learned from both our brave soldiers and professional athletes in that family is a driving force behind recovery.