Hundreds of Washington Redskins fans turned out at Liberty University’s Williams Stadium Sunday to meet two football legends headed to the NFL Hall of Fame in August.
Former wideout Art Monk and defensive back Darrell Green kicked off their “Route 281 Road to Canton Tour,” shaking hands with fans and signing autographs. Green and Monk started the Route 281 campaign (called “281” because Green donned 28 on his jersey and Monk sported 81) not only as a way of giving back to their fans, but also helping those in desperate situations. Before the two inductees are permanently enshrined at Canton, Ohio, they are making stops in Virginia, Maryland and Cincinnati to raise money for their respective charities, The Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation and (Monk’s) Good Samaritan Foundation.
“Overtime, God gave me a revelation to take it to another level and that is to reach the whole child and the whole family,” said Green of his work with DGYLF. “We are trying to be wise and utilize what God has given us to serve those that need us.”
“The most important thing is that we share the Gospel with them,“ Monk added, “and really see a change not only in their lives, but in their family lives, as well.”
Apart from being former teammates, Green and Monk are also devout Christians, who share the same vision off the field. When asked about their visit to Liberty University, the two viewed the campus as a fitting place to begin their tour.
“If the Lord would allow us to replicate this spirit throughout our tour, it would be the most awesome thing that has ever happened to us,” noted Green. “ I am so grateful that we are on Liberty University’s campus today for our kick-off.”
Monk agreed: “It’s just refreshing knowing that there are people out there that do believe in the word of God and stand in faith with us on the various issues that we have in society, rather than most of the other people that we are around who don’t.”
Other former Redskins signing autographs were Gary Clark, Dexter Manley, Joe Jacoby, and Mark Moseley.
Teens from the Liberty Godparent Home, a home where teenage girls can stay during their pregnancy, stopped by the tandem’s tent toward the end of the event. After sharing some of their experiences, the future Hall of Famers prayed with the girls and encouraged them to remain strong in their endeavors.
As fans continued to pour into the stadium for the coinciding Celebrate America event (hosted by Thomas Road Baptist Church), Green, Monk and Clark decided to miss their scheduled flight and address the crowd at the start of the God and Country musical celebration.
Founded in 1988 by the defensive back, The Darrell Green Youth Life Foundation (DGYLF) began as a social service organization, assisting families with various financial needs.
The DGYLF began opening Youth Life Learning Centers in 1996. Originating in the Washington, D.C., area, these after-school programs have now expanded into parts of Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Tennessee and Florida. Thecenters work to provide under privileged children with the “academic and values-based enrichment they need.”
Five years after the establishment of the DGYLF, Monk and three others started the Good Samaritan Foundation (GSF). Much likeGreen’s foundation, the GSF offers after-school tutoring for inner-city high school students and provides them with summer internships.
Together, the two groups operate under the Hilaron Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to funding these and other charitable organizations.
For more information about Route 281 Tour and the Hilaron Foundation, go to www.route281.com