FORT BELVOIR, Va.—A buzz was in the air Thursday as 200 military families at the USO Warrior and Family Center at Fort Belvoir awaited the arrival of three NFL players. Cheers erupted as a trio of wide receivers – the Baltimore Ravens’ Steve Smith, the New England Patriots’ Brandon Lafell and the Washington Redskins’ Andre Roberts walked into the room.
The players’ appearance was due in part to long time USO Partner, Procter & Gamble. In a joint promotion with the Defense Commissary Agency, Procter & Gamble will be awarding nine ProCamps to bases this summer. ProCamps are sports camps led by professional athletes that are designed to teach basic skills and teamwork to kids in kindergarten up through eighth grade. Procter & Gamble is presenting this program under their Family Unit platform, which is a partnership with the USO to provide resources, information and offers to military families.
“This summer, 1,500 kids on military bases are going to have the opportunity to play and learn from some of the best NFL players,” said Barbra Kelly, Proctor and Gamble’s Senior Marketing Manager, Shopper Based Marketing. “This is a once in a lifetime experience.”
The players spent an hour signing autographs, talking with troops and taking pictures. Sgt. 1st Class Shakeisha Cheeks, who brought her children to the event, said she’s attended several events at the center.
“The USO is so supportive of military families,” Cheeks said. “Events like this are great. We like to come out and have fun. Since we’ve been here, we’ve been to over 50 or 60 USO events. The USO is really doing great things for military families.“