Roddy White gives back to community with annual James Island football camp
Roddy White has had plenty of support in his football career as he rose through the ranks to be a pro bowl wide receiver for the Atlanta Falcons.
On Wednesday, the James Island High School graduate gave credit to one of those groups that has backed him over the years — the hometown that nutured him.
“I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said White, noting how he was raised by a single parent. “This is a great community. Everybody sticks together.”
White is hosting the third year of his annual camp at James Island High, one of a few events that he is involved with that benefits the Charleston area.
The camp has proven successful, with attendance jumping from around 250 kids in 2011 to 480 for this year’s week long event that ends Saturday.
White addressed the crowd with a microphone, since the comments were more than just the basic end-of-the-day pep talk. White, joined by his son, Roddy Jr., in makeshift seating area on the Trojans track, was honoree of various accolades presented by state and local dignitaries.
Dean Riegel, mayor pro tem of the city of Charleston, read a proclamation on behalf of Mayor Joe Riley declaring June 13 as Roddy White Day.
“It’s just terrific that young talented individuals like yourself give back to the community,” Riegel said.
“Thank you for being a role model and supporting this school,” fellow city council member Kathleen Wilson said.
Talking before the ceremonies, White said he hasn’t lost the enthusiasm for the game when he played at James Island in the early 2000s and made his share of appearances on “Friday Night Lights.” He was a four-sport athelete, also excelling at basketball, wrestling and soccer.
“It’s always good,” White said. “You still get the excitement, the butterflies.” White also was glad to be back in the Charleston area.
“It means a lot to me any time you come back.”
State Rep. Wendell Gilliard cited White’s extended family for raising the NFL star. “We are so grateful looking back from where you’ve come from. You ought to be proud.”
White returned the favor by presenting Gilliard with a 2012 Pro Bowl jersey.Gilliard tried the jersey on, and it fit pretty well.
State Rep. Peter McCoy, whose district includes James Island, presented a unanimous resolution from the State House to White praising his efforts to help the underprivileged.
And State Sen. Robert Ford drew applause when he said he told White that after his football days he “is going to be the first — make that the second — African-American governor of the state of South Carolina.”
Closing the camp for the day, White told the young football players he looked forward to seeing them at 8 a.m. the next morning.
“You all get ready,” he said, “because I’m going to be ready.”