Focus on: Russell Okung

Posted Sep 3, 2013

On Labor Day weekend, Russell Okung was involved in a labor of love as the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl left tackle hosted his annual Back to School Fair for 600-plus students.


How do football players spend their time when given a three-day break?

For Russell Okung, it was a chance to give back, as the Seahawks’ Pro Bowl left tackle hosted his third annual Back to School Fair at the Family Fun Center in Edmonds on Saturday.

“It was an amazing event, and I’m just glad I can give back to the community,” Okung said on Monday, when the players returned from their long weekend to begin preparing for Sunday’s regular-season opener against the Panthers in Carolina.

Okung, a first-round draft choice in 2010, hosted the first Back to School Fair through his Russell Okung UP Foundation in 2011 and was overwhelmed when 400 students showed up. Last year, the event drew even more kids (500) and this year’s turnout (637) topped that.

In addition to taking advantage of the activities at the Family Fun Center, those in attendance were provided with complimentary hair care services and given the opportunity to select backpacks and other school supplies.

“I’m really happy to see the community get behind it,” Okung said. “It’s really something that people believe in, whether we’re talking about sponsorships or partnering with a lot of people that believe in the same causes I do.”

Okung’s foundation is dedicated to providing positive African American role models to local youth by investing their time and wisdom to encourage and share the importance of education.

And Okung practices what he preaches. He was named the Seahawks’ Man of the Year in 2012 for his efforts in the community, starting with – but not limited to – the Back to School Fair.

“As long as we can keep that thing going,” he said, “it’s going to be great for years to come.”