An unfamiliar sound echoed throughout the atrium inside the Browns’ headquarters in Berea on Tuesday.
The sound: the peeling and application of packing tape on new boxes. Inside the boxes: an assortment of supplies gathered to send to military members as a sign of gratitude from the Cleveland Browns organization.
Browns players Drew Forbes, Pharaoh Brown, Colby Gossett, Willie Wright, Malcolm Pridgeon and Brandin Bryant, staff members and volunteers from Elk & Elk joined forces in the atrium, working down an assembly line with stations for inserting daily care necessities for the military men and women, Browns Salute to Service items and personalized notes of appreciation and encouragement from Browns players and staff into drawstring bags and then into U.S. postal service boxes for shipment. The group, which also included volunteers from Elk & Elk in order to ensure as many servicemen and servicewomen receive a parcel from the team, spent two hours assembling the boxes, creating quite a stack of ready-to-ship packages by the time the day neared noon.
Wright momentarily admired the group’s work and explained why he wanted to help.
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“I’ve always been a big-time community service person in high school, college, so any time I get a chance to give back with this organization, I do it,” Wright said. “I was an underprivileged kid, if you will, so I feel like paying it forward is big time, whether it’s talking to kids or doing things like this, especially helping out the vets as much as possible. It’s heartwarming.”
Shortly after, the quarterbacks arrived to deliver the packages to their mode of transportation.
Baker Mayfield, Drew Stanton and Garrett Gilbert led the way from atrium to delivery vans, carry five to seven boxes at a time. Up front was Mayfield, receiving fresh stacks of packages from his teammates and Browns staff, and organizing them neatly into the vans while Stanton and Gilbert repeatedly returned with stacks of boxes, helping orchestrate placement into the vehicles.
“I think anytime you can help support our troops, help support the military, they sacrifice and do a lot for us,” Mayfield said afterward. “So just to be able to give back a little bit I think goes a long way.
“I hope it brings a smile to their face and goes a long way. We’ll see. I hope they do know (the packages came from Mayfield). Came with a lot of love.”
The Browns will highlight their year-round commitment to local and national military appreciation by recognizing military personnel, veterans and their families at FirstEnergy Stadium during the Browns-Bills game on November 10. Sunday’s game is presented by USAA.