Dallas, Texas—The Dallas Cowboys brought an early Thanksgiving feast Tuesday to more than 500 less fortunate men, women and children at two local Salvation Army service centers.
For the first time, the Dallas Cowboys Rookie Club and rookie members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders served clients at The Salvation Army Mabee Social Services Center in Fort Worth while veterans of the team, including Miles Austin, Tony Romo, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten, simultaneously served patrons of The Salvation Army Carr P. Collins Center in Dallas. Joining the veterans were members of the Dallas Cowboys Women's Association, consisting of executives', coaches' and players' wives, as well as Gene Jones, wife of team owner and general manager Jerry Jones and president of Gene and Jerry Jones Family Charities, and Charlotte Jones Anderson, Cowboys executive vice president and chair of The Army's National Advisory Board.
"It's a real treat for us to be with you today," Anderson told The Salvation Army clients and staff. "This truly is a family affair for us—for both the Jones family and the entire Dallas Cowboys family… We truly appreciate The Salvation Army and all that is stands for. It is so special for us to be able to celebrate an early Thanksgiving here with you."
Helping with the initiative this year was Cowboys' partner and presenter of the 2012 Dallas Cowboys Rookie Club UnitedHealthcare, as well as Cowboys' partner and donor of the day's food Albertson's Marketplace. Scott Flannery, CEO of UnitedHealthcare North Texas, and Holly Steinbrecher, UnitedHealthcare regional vice president, echoed Anderson in expressing that they were humbled and honored to be part of The Army's cause to serve those in the most need.
Speaking on behalf of The Army, chief operating officer of The Salvation Army DFW Stephen Hood, Captain Michelle Matthews and Major Ward Matthews, all expressed their gratitude for the donations and service of their partners.
"The passion of the Dallas Cowboys doesn't end when they step off the field," said Michelle Matthews. "They're passionate for the community they live in and passionate about helping the people who live in their community."
In addition to serving a traditional meal of turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie and the works, the players also took time to sign autographs and visit with the centers' occupants.
"It's good just to come out here and give back," said Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray. "You always have a soft place in your heart for the less fortunate. Growing up, you always tried to pray for them and do the right things by them. No matter if it's bringing them over for a meal, just saying hi or talking to them, doing anything you can possibly lift their spirits is what counts."
The annual Early Thanksgiving Meal is one of numerous programs that makes the Dallas Cowboys-Salvation Army partnership. On actual Thanksgiving Day, the Cowboys will help The Army kick off the 122nd Red Kettle Campaign by dedicating their halftime show featuring Kenny Chesney to the cause. (Read full story here: /news/article-RowanKavner/Kenny-Chesney-To-Be-Thanksgiving-Halftime-Performer-/2f0caf36-867b-4dba-a0e9-b1ecd1fee64f.)
The complete list of veteran players volunteering Tuesday was as follows: Miles Austin, Rob Callaway, Brandon Carr, Eric Frampton, DeMarco Murray, Kyle Orton, Tony Romo, Orlando Scandrick, Phillip Tanner, DeMarcus Ware and Jason Witten. Dallas Cowboys Rookie Club participants included Ben Bass, Tim Benford, Jerry Brown, Danny Coale, Tyrone Crawford, Lance Dunbar, James Hanna, Ronald Leary, Jamize Olawale and Kyle Wilber, who were joined by 10 members of the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders.
Visit Photo Gallery here: /multimedia/photo-gallery/Cowboys-Serve-Early-Thanksgiving/f6af06da-01eb-4a77-b702-4a3b7621ad5f