Although he will depart Buffalo as a football player, the impact in the community that Bills 10 year veteran Chris Kelsay and his family have made will forever live in Western New York.
Kelsay and his wife Natalie were instrumental advocates for the Kids Escaping Drugs platform.
“I feel it’s a tremendous honor to be able to have had the opportunity that I’ve had to give back to the community for both my wife and I with different organizations and charities. We were very involved with Kids Escaping Drugs. That really touched our hearts and hit home for us and something that we strived for years.”
“Chris has been a perfect example of when an NFL player moves into a community and wants to get involved in the place where he works and lives,” said JoAnne Hudecki, Former Kids Escaping Drugs Executive. “Chris and his family gave unselfishly not only monetarily but many volunteer hours to Kids Escaping Drugs. It was with great fortune that Chris and Natalie chose Kids Escaping Drugs to be their benefactor.”
Giving back was a trait that came naturally for the couple. The Kelsay’s were always eager to get their feet wet with community work.
“My wife and I were involved with that and just to give back in any way that we can. We were given an opportunity to be blessed in many different ways through the NFL and our time here in Buffalo but along with that we felt it was our obligation to give back to the community in Western New York….that will always be a part of us that won’t change.
Throughout his time in Buffalo, Chris always kept his faith prominent. He and his family were involved with Athletes in Action, a sports ministry for collegiate and professional athletes. The Buffalo Bills team Chaplain Fred Raines and his wife Kathy played an influential role in Chris’ career.
“You can be a leader in one of two ways, you can either be a leader by position or a leader by influence, and I really feel like Chris has been a leader by influence,” said team Chaplain Fred Raines. “Whether the men in the locker room or out in the community, people have observed the consistency and faithfulness there. I think when you help a person get their life together as far as their character and relationship with Christ, you leave a lasting legacy and influence. That is the legacy Chris has left.”
“Every year my involvement with Fred grew," said Kelsay. "I would keep in touch with him during the season and the offseason. I have really grown spiritually. He and Kathy have meant a lot me, Natalie and our three kids. It’s another relationship that will last a lifetime.”
Although Chris and his family will reside in Nebraska, they will always keep the Buffalo community close to their hearts.
“We’ll always feel driven to give back to this community no matter where we are,” Kelsay said.