The Baltimore Ravens hosted the 15th Annual Goodwill Gridiron Halloween event on Monday, October 27, 2014 at Dave & Buster’s in the Arundel Mills Mall. Ravens Tight Ends Dennis Pitta and K. Justin Tucker, and Defensive Tackle Brandon Williams were joined by the newest member of the team, long snapper Kevin McDermott and more than 600 guests at the festive party.
The event featured a night of bowling, billiards and video games along with a silent auction of assorted music, sports and movie collectibles. Guests with unique costumes took part in a costume contest that was judged by the Ravens players who attended.
The event benefits Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake, Inc., with all proceeds to be put toward training and employment programs to help the disabled and underprivileged secure and retain jobs. Last year, Goodwill Industries of the Chesapeake provided services for over 39,563 individuals with disabilities and other barriers to employment, placing 2,532 people into jobs.
Ravens Community Relations manager Emily Scerba was a part of the host committee for the event. She was very excited to be able to roll out this event that allowed the fans to interact with the fans.
“The Ravens always pair up with Goodwill to make it such a fabulous event. A few players host each year, we’ve had Arthur Jones, Michael Oher, Vonta Leach and even Ray Lewis host this event. The players mingle with guests and play games.” Scerba said. “This is my third year working with this event and it’s a lot of fun. The guys really get into it and they all come dressed some way.”
Brandon Williams had on an interesting costume he said was inspired by Shaquille O’Neal’s character from the movie Shazaam. The event is something that hit home for Williams because of his tough upbringing.
“Goodwill is for the kids [and] for everyone who was at one point down in tough times. It’s definitely a soft spot in my heart because there were tough times and we had to go to the Goodwill to get coats for school or whatever. It’s something that’s near and dear to my heart.” Williams said. “It’s all about providing hope. Coming out here gives the kids something to look at, they see us doing things and it also gives me a good feeling. They see that we do these things and have their backs just the same as they do for us when they come out to watch on Sundays.”
Dennis Pitta attended the event with his family despite being injured. He says that it was important for him to be there.
“It’s a great event, something I have been involved with over the last three or four years. It’s always fun to come out and support the Goodwill and be able to reach out to the fans at a great venue and event like this. Even though I am injured, I still wanted to come out here and be able to support. The injury works well with my costume! Our little boy Decker is 18 months and he’s dressed up as my doctor, he’s the one taking care of me. My wife is our acting nurse which is pretty fitting because she has really been taking care of me while I am injured.”
Justin Tucker was at the event with his fiancé. They had a couples costume inspired by the movie “Grease.” Tucker was glad to be able to spend more time with his teammates. “It’s really cool to get with teammates outside of the facility and play some games, enjoy each other’s company. This thing is put on for a great cause to support the Chesapeake area.”
Kevin McDermott is a new member of the Ravens but the importance of having an impact on the community is not lost in him. “I am having a blast. I’m dressed as an undercover cop tonight. You can’t be a cop unless you have a mustache. It’s fitting because that’s just like a long snapper. If no one notices you, you are doing your job!”
He spoke more seriously about the event when he said; “In the world that we live in as part of the NFL, we are a symbol of the community. We need to do something to help out our local community and that makes a world of a difference to everyone that looks up to us. No matter what the event is or the charity is, it’s good to come out and be in the community at events like this.”