Thomas hosts 'Shop with a Pro'

Posted Dec 17, 2013

NORTH OLMSTED -- Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas held the team’s annual “Shop with a Pro” event at Dick’s Sporting Goods in North Olmsted Monday.

NORTH OLMSTED -- Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas welcomed 30 children from the city of Cleveland’s recreation centers to the Dick’s Sporting Goods store in North Olmsted for the team’s annual “Shop with a Pro” event.

Thomas and 10 of his teammates took the kids on a $200 shopping spree that included each child getting a brand new pair of shoes and other items they wanted for Christmas.

“It’s every kid’s dream to have a great Christmas, and not everybody in this area gets to have a great Christmas,” Thomas said. “It’s always really fun to get to reward a bunch of kids in the area with a great Christmas that they deserve.

“It’s always fun when they can come out and shop with some of the players they get to watch on TV, have a good time, and get that Christmas that they really want and really deserve.”

Thomas was joined by several of his teammates, including offensive linemen Alex Mack, Reid Fragel, Shawn Lauvao, John Greco and Oniel Cousins, quarterbacks Jason Campbell and Brian Hoyer, and tight end Keavon Milton, as well as defensive backs Terrence Frederick and Josh Aubrey.

“It’s in support of my teammate,” Mack said. “Joe does this event, and I think it’s a good cause. I’ve been doing it for five years now, and it’s fun to come out during the holiday season and help kids get some stuff, run around, get all excited and pick stuff out.

“Joe does a good job with this. He’s active in the community, and it’s fun to help support him when he does these things. He’s a good guy to do it.”

Both Mack and Aubrey agreed that the players enjoyed the event and took more from the shopping trip than the children themselves.

“I had two little girls today, and they knew exactly what they wanted,” Mack said. “They went to one area. They got that, and they were like, ‘Oh yeah, I want this.’ It was fun to see them get excited about a coat. Seeing a kid really excited over a new pair of shoes and a coat is fun.”

Aubrey added, “It’s good just to be out here enjoying it with these kids. Putting smiles on their faces, that’s what it’s all about. At this time, it’s about giving.

“I remember being in their shoes, wanting a lot of things and not being able to have a lot of stuff. Just to come out here and get something, get something you want maybe for the first time, it’s a good thing to give back to the little kids and put smiles on their faces.”

Events like Monday’s shopping spree serve as a reminder to Thomas of how important it is to give to those less fortunate.

“It was a lot of fun reliving Christmas from the eyes of a kid and getting to see what kind of things they like to pick out with smiles on their faces,” Thomas said. “This is just as much fun as any Christmas gift that I’m going to get. It’s always fun when you make a kid’s Christmas.”

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