Not all heroes wear capes, sometimes they wear jerseys.
The Georgia Bulldogs football team finished its final trip to Camp Sunshine in Rutledge, Ga., on Wednesday, and this trip shows the players that their jersey turns into a hero cape when they visit.
Georgia players and coaches take two trips to the camp each year since head coach Kirby Smart took the job, but have been coming to the camp since Mark Richt’s early years as the head coach.
Smart went on June 18 for the first visit and made an entrance flying in on his helicopter. He brought his wife Mary Beth and his youngest son Andrew as well. His brother Karl also made the trip and talked with the players and kids.
Karl spent time as a kid at the camp, so it holds a special place in the Smart family.
“It’s always a special occasion to be here for me,” Smart said to the reporters at Camp Sunshine. “To have my brother here today makes it even better. He spent a lot of years here, and it’s been really good to our family. We appreciate all that Mo, and everybody out here does especially the volunteers and all the counselors.”
It’s become a tradition for the team and one that these players don’t take for granted. This trip allows them to interact with these kids and give back to the community, and each player takes something away from it.
These players are the campers heroes. Regardless of if a player is a starter or on the scout team, for that day, they are someone’s hero.
Stetson Bennett IV is one of Georgia’s quarterbacks has been a Bulldog fan all his life, so he knows exactly how these campers feel when the team comes. He talked about how his parents got him a Thomas Davis jersey for his 10th birthday and how to this day that was his favorite present ever.
“They really do look at this ‘G,’” Bennett IV said to reporters. “Whenever we come out here, I’m sure it’s the highlight, and I hate saying that because I don’t want to think I’m a huge deal. To me whenever I saw a UGA football player when I was younger it was a highlight, it was the best part of my day, it was the best part of my month, I mean I remembered it forever.
“It’s an awesome thing that coach Smart does with the leadership crew here that puts everything together, and I’m really glad we’re able to do it.”
Starting quarterback, Jake Fromm said he knew since his freshman year and first visit to camp that once you put the jersey on and go to Camp Sunshine, it’s eye-opening.
“As soon as you put on a jersey it’s a different world and a different power,” Fromm said. “I’m just so thankful for the opportunity to be on this stage and get to spend some time with these people and make their day.”
Senior defensive lineman, Michael Barnett said it’s a privilege to come out and be with the kids. He likes the trip because it allows the kids to be that, kids and not have anyone look at them differently or tell them they can’t do something.
“Those kids look up to us, and I just want them to know we care about them,” Barnett said.
For starting tight end, Charlie Woerner camp makes him appreciate what he has. He said he was a deer in the headlights his freshman year at camp, but now he sees how important this place is for these kids and despite what they go through daily, they still have so much love to give.
JR Reed is one of the players that doesn’t miss the trip. He enjoys it and knows what it means to these kids.
“They look up to us as heroes no matter what role you play on the team you are their hero,” Reed said to reporters. “Life is so short and no matter who you are and no matter what role you play on or off the field, you’re someone’s hero, so you always have to watch what you do.
“It means the world; it puts a smile on my face to see that I’m doing something and inspiring these kids, and they inspire me, and I always have a good time. I wish the trip were a lot longer than a couple of hours, but it’s a great trip.”