Kennedy football team comes out to support Pulling for Honor fundraiser

Squad holds its own fundraiser to raise entry fee for second annual event

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Decked out in their “Brother/Family” T-shirts, Kennedy High School football players took their turn Saturday at pulling a 65-ton FedEx 757 jet as part of the second annual Pulling for Honor fundraiser.

Dozens of teams of 25 people competed against each other on an Eastern Iowa Airport runway to see who could pull the massive jet 12 feet the fastest.

The Kennedy football team had one of the top times, pulling the jet 12 feet in 5.193 seconds.

To participate, each team had to raise a minimum of $2,500. Proceeds went to Eastern Iowa Honor Flight, which organizes flights for area veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit war memorials built to honor their service.

To come up with the $2,500 donation, the football team used some of its own fundraising money.

“... We decided that we wanted to give back to the community so we don’t just use the funds for football stuff,” said Jeff McGuire, president of the Kennedy Football Support Group. “They kicked in about $500 of the entry fee using those funds, and then private donors donated the rest of it.”

This was the football team’s first year participating in the event.

“Over the past few years, we started doing community service events just trying to give back to the community and teach our young men that it’s not always about taking at their age, but it’s also about giving back as well,” head football coach Brian White said.

McGuire said that the football program aims to emphasize the importance of community service to its players.

“They get to be football players for just a few years of their lives, but they get to be community servants for the rest of their lives,” McGuire said.

Kennedy junior Quinn Beatty was proud of the team for coming together to participate in the fundraiser.

“We worked together just like we do on the field, and it was a fun experience that we’ll remember and hold onto throughout the season,” Beatty said.

Eastern Iowa Honor Flight public relations coordinator George Rickey was grateful to all who participated.

“We thank the community for its support but more importantly we thank our veterans,” Rickey said. “The freedom that we’re enjoying every day, they earned it for us.”

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