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Charity event fits Baldwin like a glove

Wide receiver collects warm clothing for needy kids at Lewis Main Exchange

Published: 01:08PM December 19th, 2013
Charity event fits Baldwin like a glove

Dean Siemon/Northwest Guardian

Seattle Seahawk Doug Baldwin poses for a photograph with Misael Medina-Torress and his children — Nathaniel, middle, Samuel, bottom, and Uriel — during a meet and greet event Monday at the Lewis Main Exchange.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin Jr. grew up playing football with the Salvation Army in Pensacola, Fla. During that time, he saw different drives and fundraisers for those in need.

“It was ingrained in me at a young age to always give back when you have the opportunity to do so,” Baldwin said.

Baldwin had the opportunity to give back in two ways on Monday — collecting gloves, scarves and hats for those in need and visiting with service members at Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

Baldwin visited the Lewis Main Exchange, offering photo opportunities to those who donated new or gently used winter gloves for those in need. The Exchange began accepting donations seven days prior with customers donating not only gloves, but also scarves and hats.

As Baldwin walked to the front of the Exchange, he not only saw a line of fans leading out the door — with gloves in hand — but also a cart filled with about 1,200 donated clothing items.

By the end of the two-hour visit, Baldwin left with more than 2,000 winter items to donate.

Based on the brightly wrapped box Baldwin and Seahawks representatives brought with them from the team’s headquarters at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Redmond, they weren’t expecting that many gloves.

“It’s unbelievable,” Baldwin said. “It’s a tribute to the people who brought those things in and their giving hearts.”

Baldwin had just returned to Washington after Seattle shutout the New York Giants 23-0 the day before at New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium — where Baldwin caught a 12-yard touchdown catch — and left the VMAC at 3 p.m. to get to JBLM.

Patrick McGhee, general manager of JBLM Exchange, said he thought it was “awesome” that a star player from the NFL’s top team would take time out of a busy schedule to see the troops a day after a big game.

“Some people say they support the troops by saying hello to them on TV,” McGhee said. “It means more when you actually show up and walk the talk.”

It also shows why the Seahawks voted Baldwin the 2013 Seahawks’ Man of the Year for his community service.

Military spouse Mariah Guinn recognized his contributions for his efforts in raising money for the American Red Cross to aid in the disaster relief from recent typhoons that hit the Pacific region.

Both Guinn and Baldwin have family members who live in the Philippines.

“I really wanted to thank him for helping my relatives,” Guinn said.

Baldwin thanked service members for supporting the team and donating to his charitable cause. The gloves, hats and scarves will be distributed to Seattle’s homeless through different shelter programs like New Horizons, Division House and the Salvation Army.

Many JBLM service members were happy to donate to a good cause in addition to being able to meet Baldwin for a moment or two.

“There’s more stuff I think people would be willing to give,” said fan Misael Medina-Torres.