Laurie Dickman covered the pre-Super Bowl bash benefiting Jared Allen’s Homes for Wounded Warriors, including exclusive interviews with Jay Glazer and Jared Allen.
When I was first asked to cover Fox Sports Jay Glazer’s Glazerpalooza Superbowl XLIX kick off party for Good Men Project Sports, I must admit, I was scared to death! I’d never acted as a reporter for anything. I didn’t know what to expect, what it would be like, or even what to wear. (The answers: a “feel good” event supporting a great cause, a ton of fun, and a black dress (you can never go wrong with a black dress)).
Glazerpalooza, powered by mophie, is Glazer’s 5th annual pre-Super Bowl party. Each year it brings together some of Hollywood and the NFL’s most prominent names in anticipation of the big game. Past guests have included Michael Strahan, Marshawn Lynch, Brian Urlacher, Tony Gonzalez, Chuck Lidell, Troy Aikman, and more.
On Wednesday night at Maya Day + Nightclub in Scottsdale, the attendees included Jared Allen, Brian Urlacher, Curt Menefee, and David Spade. Also in attendance were me, my husband, and my rabbi. (He just happened to be there!).
My prior work with charitable causes was a big reason that I truly enjoyed covering this event. As a member of the Scottsdale Association of Realtors, we have a fund called the “Hutch Fund.” The monies from this fund go to members of this Association or their immediate families, who are faced with a financial, catastrophic crisis, through no fault of their own. In the past nine years, we have raised over $450,000, and I have served as Co-Director of our biggest fundraiser. I’ve met recipients of this fund and have personally seen what a difference this financial assistance has made. Monies are used to either pay mortgages, while a recipient is undergoing medical treatments, or has paid for treatments, food, etc.
Talk about a “feel good” event!
That’s how I felt on Wednesday night. Not knowing what to expect from Glazerpalooza, I read up on both Mr. Glazer, as well as Jared Allen, Founder of Homes for Wounded Warriors.
I was truly touched by Mr. Allen’s organization, and his answers to my questions about giving back to the community. As a Realtor by day (and now, apparently, a reporter at night), there is no better story to cover than a charity whose mission is to pair our Veterans with accessible housing.
When speaking with Jared Allen (pictured in his cowboy hat in the above cover photo), we focused on his connection to veterans and on his being a positive role model for children. His answers were authentic and refreshing:
Good Men Project Sports:
What is Homes for Wounded Warriors?
“We build handicapped accessible houses for military vets returning home. I founded Homes for Wounded Warriors back in 2009 and come from a military family and after I came home from a USO tour, I had a buddy tell me about the gaps for when wounded vets come home and what their situations are and it just took off from there. The organization is now partnered with Home Depot and Wells Fargo, among others. We finished our 8th home. We have built homes in Arizona, Minnesota and are currently looking for a home in Oregon. His hope is to be on the East Coast and potentially all over the United States. “We’re never gonna allow the brand to be bigger than the cause.”
What would you do to inspire kids who are athletes looking to become professionals?
“I would encourage them to have fun, follow your dreams. I said when I was 8 years old, that I was gonna play pro ball and that’s what I did. I would also encourage education. You have to have options.”
What would you say to kids who are looking to become more involved philanthropically?
“Start with your time. The greatest gift you can give is your time. Sign up at your local Y or local Boys and Girls Club. Get involved. Find a cause that’s near and dear to your heart.”
I also had the chance to chat briefly with Jay Glazer. He explained the background of the event and why he was so pleased to be supporting Allen’s organization:
“Every year I do Glazer Palooza for a different charity. This year it’s for Homes for Wounded Warriors. The fact that he [Jared Allen] builds homes for wounded warriors, I mean, it’s the perfect charity. It’s easier to forget about things when they’ve passed, but to actually continue to think about the vets. These guys come home and nobody thinks about them. But Jared Allen and his organization does.”
Mr. Glazer also noted how much he, like many of us, is looking forward to just relaxing and watching the game:
“Football is an outlet to get away from other things.”
As a rookie reporter on the scene, it was great to see these well-known athletes and celebrities come together for such a great cause. As Jared Allen said, what you need is “time and “passion!” And just like Allen, we can all use our platforms to make a difference.
And we can make a difference and also enjoy sports. Now on to the outlet, Super Bowl XLIX.
Photo Credit(s): Author