Jerod Mayo receives his community service award Tuesday night at Gillette Stadium.FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots linebacker Jerod Mayo received the 2011 Ron Burton Community Service Award during the team's annual Charitable Foundation Kickoff Gala Tuesday night at the Putnam Club at Gillette Stadium.
"It means a lot," Mayo said. "When I first got here to New England, I really looked up to guys like Kevin Faulk and Vince Wilfork. I saw the community work that they did and I just felt like I needed to give back as well. It starts with Mr. Kraft and Mrs. Kraft. Those guys were great examples and hopefully I’ll continue to do it."
“In his three short years in New England, Jerod has made large contributions both on and off the field,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said. “Both in uniform and and as an active volunteer in the community, he has done everything asked of him and more. He continually makes us proud to have drafted him in 2008. He is a most deserving recipient of the Ron Burton Award.”
Mayo is one of the team's most consistent participants in charitable activities, with a focus on events that benefit children.
"We know him to always roll up his sleeves while getting involved in creative ways, including leading art projects, serving children dinner and playing interactive games," Patriots executive director of community affairs Andre Tippett said. "It is clear that he wants to use his experience as a father to make a difference in the lives of each child he meets.”
Added Mayo: "My biggest passion is just giving back to the kids; they’re our future and I know it sounds cliché, but it’s the truth. Some of them really don’t have direction and things like that, so anytime it has something to do with the kids I’m always there."
In 2010, Mayo launched The Mayo Bowl, an annual celebrity bowling event to raise funds for Pitching in for Kids, a charity that provides earmarked grants to improve the lives of children in New England. He has also been actively involved in Patriots Kids Cafes, which provides hot meals for youth who may not receive them at home, and has participated in the Patriots' annual children’s holiday party. Last season, Mayo made several visits to local hospitals as part of the Patriots’ “Kick Cancer” initiative.
The Burton award is named in honor of the late Ron Burton, the first player drafted by the team who, through his widespread charitable work, was a model for how a Patriots player can make an impact in the community.