On June 20, nearly 150 Atlanta-area youth had an opportunity to take the field with some of their professional sports heroes, thanks in part to support from CSX. Despite a rainy forecast, the sun broke through the clouds during the annual CSX-sponsored Ronnie Brown and Andre Fluellen Summer Football and Cheer Camp at Cartersville High School.
Mike McCain, Manager Field Investigations, who led CSX’s participation for the second year, said the event is an effective way for the company to raise awareness of the critical role the railroad plays in the community while also promoting railroad safety.
“A lot of people see our trains rolling and don’t connect CSX with the community,” he said. “Being a part of this event helps us make that connection. The more people we reach with the message of railroad safety, the more people understand the dangers of the railroad which encourages them to stay off the tracks.”
At the event, CSX employees provided attendees and their families with railroad safety information and tips, as well as safety-themed key chains and pencils. CSX volunteers also assisted with event setup, sign-in, serving lunch and cleanup.
San Diego Chargers running back Ronnie Brown and Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Andre Fluellen – both Cartersville High School alumni – led participants in fundamental football skills, including stretching, shuttle drills, passing and fumble recoveries. Several of their NFL colleagues also showed up to support the event.
For the second year, the event included a dance and cheer component, led by former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Brittani Richards, and current coach of the Florida State University Golden Girls Dance Team. Participants learned a cheer and dance routine and practiced lifts.
“Giving back is important for CSX,” said Sheriee Bowman, Manager Community Affairs and Safety. “We have robust operations in Atlanta, so engaging with the community helps us to emphasize the importance of railroad safety to our neighbors here.”
For Kevin Canada, Account Manager-Food, the event was an opportunity to connect with current and prospective customers in a community-centered atmosphere. “I enjoy working with kids and parents and seeing their excitement and smiles when they work with an NFL player or receive a shirt,” he said.
Fluellen enjoys bringing the camp to the Cartersville community every year. “Hosting this camp with my lifetime friend Ronnie and fellow NFL members is the icing on the cake,” he said. “We look to not only provide the kids with the unique opportunity to interact with players, but emphasize the importance of perseverance and working together.”