Without any official team activities scheduled at Renton's Virginia Mason Athletic Center until training camp kicks off at the end of the month, Seahawks players have a bit more free time to do things they're passionate about. For Jermaine Kearse, one of those passion projects includes giving back to a military community that helped him become the man he is today.
The Seahawks wide receiver hosted military families at the Seattle Mariners game on Wednesday night through his 15 to 1: Jermaine Kearse Foundation, which aims to support and inspire youth in military families to work hard, persevere and believe in order to overcome adversity and find success through positive choices, experiences and opportunity.
According to the foundation's Facebook page, the evening saw 400 Gold Star Kids - children who have lost a parent in military combat - attend the game with Kearse himself, a Lakewood native who grew up on what is now Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Kearse, who was a senior at Lakes High School when he lost his father David because of a blood clot in his lungs, knows what it's like to deal with the death of a loved one.
"Think about it, your parent gets deployed, and it's a constant guessing game—is my mom or dad going to come back?" Kearse said when asked about his foundation's work last season. "That's real life. This stuff we're doing here, this is cool, but when I think about that, what those kids are going through… You watch TV and you see stuff going on over there with ISIS and other stuff; I don't think people necessarily fully comprehend that that stuff is really happening. That's real life for these people. When you see it on TV, you don't fully comprehend that it's real life to these families."
Last night, in between posing for photos and signing autographs for military families on hand, Kearse was also presented with a certificate of appreciation by the Washington State Department of Veterans Affairs for hosting Building 9 transitional veterans at the game.