(WHAS11) The people who run the California Jets football team are going to be paying close attention to the person the council chooses to fill Unseld’s seat at Metro Hall; because without him, organizers say they’re not sure it can last.
While in office, George Unseld served as a proponent for programs for kids throughout the community.
One of his favorite projects was helping a local football team.
It may look like just a game, but for the kids in this community, it’s so much more.
Henry Perkins, a California Jets football player, said, “It’s everything, because it’s a way to spend my summer and meet people.”
Kenshawn Washington, also a Jets football player, said “I just love to be outside in the fresh air; it means a lot. I’ve been playing for seven years now, so it means a lot.”
This is the California Jets Football team; a group of 150 kids, ages five through 13, who live in the west end area.
For some, this is the most interaction they’ll get all summer.
Tammy Hawkins, President California Jets, said “We’re dealing with a lot of under-privileged kids whose parents just can’t afford it.”
So when Metro Parks told the team that they would need to pay to keep the lights on during their night practices in the fall, the team almost fell apart.
But then, Councilman Unseld stepped in giving the team enough money, not only to keep the lights on, but also for some much needed equipment.
Hawkins said, “He took on a great responsibility with our program.”
And now that he’s gone, Hawkins said she’s concerned about the future of the program and the future of these kids.
“The kids are our future and we have to keep them off the streets, we have to,” said Hawkins.
And for that goal, she’s taking a lesson from the players: Washington said, “…to work hard and never give up.”