If there is any positive to take away from a natural disaster it's the revelation that there are good, caring people who will do everything they can to help others in need. I witnessed this many times over the past week in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, but there was one act of generosity that stood out from the rest.
As I prepared for my sideline reporting duties for Sunday's matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Minnesota Vikings, I reached out to my contacts on each team to see what they could donate to a fundraiser I'm holding in Los Angeles next week to help victims of the storm. I told them I was looking for donations of money, food and clothing for storm victims in Long Island, N.Y. -- my childhood home and where nearly all of my family still resides. I told them I was looking for items I could raffle or auction off -- perhaps a golf polo or a small basket of team-related items. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll generously signed a Seahawks football for me, which was spectacular, especially considering his large Los Angeles fan base from his USC coaching days.
The Vikings said they would try to help, but didn't offer anything specific. On the Saturday night before the game, I heard back from the team, and I'll never forget that moment. I received an email that night from running back Adrian Peterson. He said he wanted to help me in any way he could, and that he'd donate items to the auction. He mentioned his foundation was helping East Coast storm victims too, which I found surprising considering he's a Texas native who played college ball in Oklahoma and now resides in Minneapolis. He concluded his email saying "God Bless your family and all those affected." Wow. It was genuinely kind of him to reach out to me and help.
The next day, Peterson had a game for the ages -- 182 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough as the Vikings lost to the Seahawks, 30-20. It was a difficult defeat for the Vikings. Yet after the game, Peterson walked out of the locker room and handed me a jersey -- covered in dirt, still damp with sweat and signed "Adrian Peterson, Nov 4, 2012, God Bless."
I already knew Peterson was one of the "good guys," but his kindness and generosity struck me as truly remarkable. Not only will his game-worn, autographed jersey be the highlight of my charity auction, but it will tell a story of an NFL player who truly cares for those in need. Hopefully, it will inspire others to step up, give and appreciate the men and women who have already spent long days helping others put their lives back together.