DENVER --As they slapped high-fives, posed for pictures, signed autographs and exchanged smiles with those in attendance, members of the Broncos had an uplifting boost to their week when they visited volunteers and homeowners at a Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver build site in the Globeville neighborhood on Tuesday morning.
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, cornerback Tony Carter, safety Omar Bolden, tackle Chris Clark, tackle Paul Cornick and guard Ben Garland traded their football helmets for hard hats and stepped onto the build site – which is part of the 30th Anniversary of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project in partnership with Habitat.
Volunteers will build 11 new townhomes and repair 15 homes throughout the week as part of the project – Denver is one of four cities in the country that was selected to participate this year – and for the players, interacting with the volunteers and homeowners in such a positive environment was an encouraging way to spend their day off.
"Anytime you can do something positive and give back, it's a plus. It's uplifting," Bolden said. "Positive energy is good for everybody. You see the smiles on people's faces around here – everybody's here having a good time. We're giving back and I think it's great."
"It's just amazing to come out and meet some great people, get away from football and just come and see what's going on in the community," Thomas added.
The event was an opportunity for the Broncos to show their appreciation to volunteers for all their hard work in making a difference in the community, as Garland – a Colorado native – noted in addressing the crowd of volunteers.
"On behalf of the players and the Denver Broncos, we want to come out here on our day off and thank you guys," he said. "Thanks to all the volunteers from the bottom of our hearts. We've got huge respect for everything you guys do out here. You guys are true unsung heroes in the community." For the volunteers, there was no masking the excitement of having the opportunity to meet and interact with members of the Broncos.
"It's great that they're willing to come out and help with this, to be a part of it," volunteer Lori Christenberry said. "It's just awesome, we think that they're wonderful people."
"We got signatures from them and pictures with them," volunteer Ann Coronado added. "They were so nice. They were just really friendly."
That excitement was reciprocated for the players.
"It was just good to meet people who are big fans of yours when you never really get much of a chance to meet them and talk to them," Thomas said. "It's just great."
Just as the players turned out in support of the volunteer cause, the Habitat volunteers showed an outpouring of support for the Broncos' on-field accomplishments this season.
"They're talking about our season and just the good things that we're doing," Bolden said. "They're doing good things, we're doing good things on the field. It's going hand-in-hand."
Ultimately, it was an encouraging environment that made its impact on volunteers and players alike.
"Having the Broncos out here was just the icing on the cake, especially with their impeccable season that they're having so far," volunteer Michele Matisse said. "It was great to see them come out and participate."
And for those who have given hours of time as volunteers, helping with the construction of the future homes of Habitat homeowners has proven to be a gratifying experience.
"It's just wonderful that we can do this for the people who are so thankful," Matisse said. The homeowners are out here every day, putting in their time and helping out, also."
"They're out here doing the good thing," Bolden said. "We're just trying to come out here and support."
The 30th Anniversary of the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter Work Project festivities will continue on Wednesday with a Habitat-hosted Gala at the National Western Event Center Arena. The gala begins at 5:30 p.m. and will feature remarks from former President Carter, appearances by longtime Habitat supporters Garth Brooks and Tricia Yearwood, and a performance by Isaac Slade, lead singer of the Fray.