FORT HOOD, Texas - Dozens of young Army family members participated in the NFL Football ProCamp, hosted by Denver Broncos tight end Andrew Beck at Hood Stadium here, July 9-10.
This camp did not just happen by accident. The Fort Hood community won the opportunity by shopping at the Commissary and Exchange and buying Procter & Gamble products.
“We won this contest by selling the most Procter & Gamble than any other base in CONUS (continental United States) this year,” said Vicki Walker, Fort Hood commissary officer.
Andrew Beck, recipient of the NFL Honor Salute to Service award, was a military brat himself and was excited to be working with military kids.
“To be able to work with military kids is such a huge honor for me, growing up a military kid working with veterans, active-duty, retirees, things like that. It’s a blast anytime (I) get to work with kids and share my story and tell them, ‘Hey guys, if I can make it to the NFL, you guys can. I’ve been in your shoes.' We lived here at Fort Hood when I was growing up. To be able to relate to them it’s really cool.”
He was happy to be back at the place he once called home, but was not as thrilled with the triple-digit temperature.
“It’s the Great Place. It’s awesome being back here, other than the heat. It’s 85 back in Denver.”
Andrew’s father is Brig. Gen. Christopher Beck, III Armored Corps and Fort Hood deputy commanding general. He encouraged Andrew to pursue his dream of becoming an NFL player despite the challenges of growing up in a military family.
“I used to (talk to) my dad growing up, (about) moving around living on Army installations. It can be hard for me to get recruited to go to college and to be able to play in the NFL which was obviously my dream. He told me, ‘If you keep working, I promise people will come find you,’” Andrew shared. “It’s true, but it’s hard to believe when it’s coming from your parents. (It’s important) To be able to come back and tell (the children), ‘It is true. If you work hard enough, you can do anything no matter where you’re from or what your background is.’”
After a short warm-up session, the general spoke to the children in attendance, encouraging them, much like he did Andrew over a decade ago.
“About 12 years ago, (Andrew) was sitting right where you all are. We were stationed right here at Fort Hood. He played football for the rec league. He played at a local middle school. One day when I picked him up from a camp he said, ‘I really want to play football.’ He set his mind to playing football; he set his mind on that goal,” the elder Beck said.
“I want to tell you all a lot of times military kids or kids that are associated with the military kind of have a raw deal. You move around a lot. You don’t feel like you get a fair shake at some of the sports. I think it’s really important that you ask (Andrew) a lot of questions today," the general urged the youth, "because he’s been where you guys are sitting right now. He and his brother are the young men they are today because of what they experienced in the military.”