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JBLM Youth Football Camp

Seahawks players' foundations join together to host military youth camp on JBLM

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse awaits a pass from a young military dependent during the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Youth Football Camp hosted by Marcus Trufant, Kearse and Derrick Coleman Jr. on June 27. Photo credit Gary Lott

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A hot summer workout with ever-changing athletic drills is something that not only servicemembers are used to, but also current and former Seattle Seahawks players Derrick Coleman Jr., Marcus Trufant and Jermaine Kearse.

Surprisingly, none of these NFL greats were the focus of the spotlight this past weekend on Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM).

It was all about the kids.

"The concept to take yourself out of the equation and lay your life on the line and do stuff for the greater good of the country is something that is huge, and not everyone can do that," said former Washington State University and Seahawks alum Marcus Trufant.  "Kids travel around in the military, and at times it can be hard, so just to be able to do a camp like this and help bring a smile to a kid's face is just a no brainer."

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse stretches with more than 400 Joint Base Lewis-McChord military youth during a JBLM Youth Football Camp held at Cowan Stadium on June 27. Photo credit Gary Lott

Military dependents bear the brunt of frequent travel, isolated on-base schools, missing a deployed parent and more - all without donning a service uniform.

More than 400 young military dependents practiced football fundamentals alongside the Seahawks players (and their families) at a JBLM Youth Football Camp held June 27 at Cowan Stadium. It's something most JBLM parent service members (and a lot of their Washington state civilian counterparts) would undoubtedly sign on the dotted line for any day of the week.

The bond that military families rely upon was clearly obvious among the organizations and players at the event, which was co-hosted by Trufant's, Coleman's and Kearse's charities.

The event was a family affair, as servicemember parents cheered on their little ones from the stands. But it was also a family affair for the NFL stars: Trufant's parents, Constance and Lloyd Trufant, as well as Derrick Coleman, Sr. (not the Super Bowl Champion Seahawk Jr., although it was difficult to distinguish the two on this afternoon) ran camp drills.

However, the two players with the most familiarity with the Pacific Northwest, and with the most experience with a military background, ended up on the same installation to accomplish a joint mission - a story many servicemembers can relate to.

"About a year ago, I started thinking about causes I wanted to show my support to, and I kind of just went to the root of everything," Kearse said. "My dad was in the military. I lived on a military base, and I grew up in a military family. I feel like that was a place where my heart was telling me I should dedicate my time and show a lot of my support to."

Trufant and Kearse are not only familiar with the military, but also with the area.  Kearse attended Lakes High School, and Trufant, from Tacoma, attended Wilson High. However, the friendly rivalry was put to a truce, for this event at least.

"Both families came up here through the military," said Trufant.  "I was born and raised in Tacoma, so to be able to give back and bring a smile to some of these kid's faces out here at camp on a military base was pretty much a no brainer for me."

That shared military family atmosphere was a primary cause for the three foundations to come together for the JBLM Youth Football Camp, and for a mentorship to form among the players, whom servicemembers can often relate to.

"I've been talking with Trufant for a little bit. He's been in the game for a while now with his family foundation and has been a mentor for me in starting a foundation and with its ins and outs," said Kearse.  "He's been a huge help, and I'm going to just continue to pick his brain and take this thing further."

The Marcus Trufant Family Foundation (which will host a Celebrity Beach Volleyball event on July 11), the Derrick L. Coleman, Jr. No Excuse Foundation (which focuses on hearing impairment and bullying campaigns) and the new-to-the-game 15 to 1 Jermaine Kearse Foundation (which focuses specifically on military youth) all came together as one, big family to put on this event for JBLM military youth.

Although temperatures surpassed the 90-degree mark, you would not have been able to tell these military youth to stop exercising on this day.

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