Students and staff gave Buffalo Bills Safety George Wilson a standing ovation as he returned to his seat after addressing students at a "thank you" rally in the gymnasium of Burgard High School in Buffalo on Tuesday 16. Students held the rally to express their gratitude to the Buffalo Bills for their generous $25,000 donation which the school will use to build a Fitness Zone cardio/weight room. Dr. James A. Willams Superintendent for the Buffalo schools and Gretchen Geitter the Buffalo Bills VP of Community Relations were also on hand for the event.
The Fitness Zone project is part of a broader effort by the NFL and the Buffalo Bills to make youth health and fitness a priority in schools and communities. The Fitness Zone will provide an opportunity for all students, not just athletes, to participate in physical activity. Fitness Zone will increase knowledge regarding physical fitness and health, healthier bodies, and increased confidence to make healthy choices. Students will have access to cardio machines, including elliptical trainers, treadmills, and stationary bikes. Weight machines and free weights will also be included in the room.
Wilson gave a truly moving speech as he shared with students his journey from a young boy with big dreams to a player in the National Football League. He told students that although he faced many obstacles throughout his life he never gave up on himself or his dreams. Looking at the students faces it was clear Wilson's message made an impact. Wilson also encouraged students to utilize their new facility which will be finished in September 2009 once the $20 million
Phase III renovation is complete. He expressed to students the importance of physical fitness and challenged students to make it an essential part of their everyday lives.
"I just congratulated them on receiving this facility and encouraged them to take full advantage of it because I didn't have a nice training facility coming up through school," said Wilson. "Facilities can change the outlook for kids. It boosts their morale and allows them to dream bigger because somebody else made a sacrifice on their behalf."
At the conclusion of the rally, students from Burgard presented George Wilson and Gretchen Geitter with a $500 donation to the Kevin Everett Foundation. The event was a success and everyone involved looks forward to the positive impact the Fitness Zone will have on Burgard High School and its students.