“Whenever we can do something like this it’s great,” said Long, who is about to begin his fifth season with the Dolphins. “I really wanted to do this just to help the people going through hard times and to spend a day like Valentine’s Day with them and give them a little bit of our time and give them some food. They’re so appreciative and the smiles on their faces shows just how much enjoyment they are getting out of us being here.”
While Long stood behind the counter and picked up hamburgers with his spatula to place on the buns, Garner, Denny and Fields manned the other food stations. They doled out hot dogs, French fries and potato salad, answering occasional football questions along the way.
General Manager Jeff Ireland’s wife, Rachel out cold beverages as well as the roses. Knowing how special Valentine’s Day is to women around the world, they really wanted to share their feelings with these people at COSAC.
“This is really special for us to be here and to share the love on a day like today and to have the football players here is really great for us,” Dee said. “The ladies really love to give back to the community, as do the Miami Dolphins. We’ve got a hot meal and cupcakes and roses and some candy and these people might normally have a special day like today. But everybody needs a little love on Valentine’s Day so we’re happy to be here to help.”
Rachel Ireland echoed what Dee had to say and was really taken aback by how the faces of these people lit up when they saw Long and the other players serving them. It was a constant theme throughout the afternoon, capturing those smiles in person and on camera.
In order to really get a grasp on what today’s event meant to everyone involved with the COSAC Foundation, Ron Gauthier pointed out how it was the homeless residents who helped set up the tables and get the kitchen ready on relatively short notice. Gauthier wears many hats at the shelter so he was really grateful for the efforts put in by the Dolphins players and the MDWO.
“The thing that hits them the most is you’ll see on any given Sunday these people watching the games on the patio or in their bedrooms and they root for the Dolphins, but then when the games are over with they go back to face reality that they’re in a homeless shelter,” Gauthier said. “But when they heard this was happening you should have seen some of their reactions. They might have been depressed over the last couple of weeks but they lit up like it was Christmas all over again.
“The Dolphins have always had a heart going back to the Shula era up to the present era the Dolphins have always been there for the community. They haven’t forgotten where they came from and it’s very obvious the organization knows what it’s doing, so we’re very thankful to them. They’re down-to-earth people and their heart overshadows the uniform, and that means the world to us.”