Giving BackPublished 6:34pm Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Pike County NFL veteran continues his holiday tradition
Cornelius Griffin lived his boyhood dream of playing football in the National Football League. He is now living another dream – that of being a husband, a father and a contributing member of the place he calls home.
Griffin watched appreciatively as one by one the senior members of his hometown made their way into Brundidge Station to enjoy a community Thanksgiving dinner, which he has hosted for 12 years with the help of his family and friends.
More than 100 area residents enjoyed the Thanksgiving dinner on site and another 550 meals were home delivered.
Griffin said he has always had the support and encouragement of his hometown from peewee football through high school, college and the pros.
“It’s good to know that you’ve got your hometown behind you,” he said. “The Thanksgiving dinner is a way to show that appreciation.”
Many of those who came to Brundidge Station have watched Griffin grow up and followed him throughout his football career, first at the University of Alabama then with the New York Giants and the Washington Redskins of the NFL.
Cliff Black’s home is in the shadows of Bulldog Stadium and he watched Griffin “play in my backyard.”
“Cornelius is a great young man,” Black said. “And, I don’t say that unless I mean it. What he does for the people in Brundidge, he does out of the goodness of his heart and we appreciate it and thank him. He is as good as it gets.”
Griffin retired from the NFL in 2009 at the age of 33. He left big city life because he wanted his children to grow up in a small town and around family.
“That’s the reason that I came home,” he said. “Family is important and I wanted our children to grow up knowing their grandparents – all their relatives.”
Having lived in New Jersey and in the Washington D.C. area Griffin said he’d
“been there and done that.”
“I was ready to come home,” he said. “A person is not defined by where he lives. You can be whatever you want to be wherever you are. I’m right where I want to be.”
Griffin said he is surrounded by caring and giving family and friends.
That was evident by the number of people who had come together Tuesday to prepare and serve nearly 700 meals to shut-ins, those who are experiencing hardships and the senior members of the community.
Griffin and his mom, Martha Griffin, expressed appreciation to the members of Lily White Church, Jerusalem Temple, the Brundidge Rotary Club and the many community volunteers who worked together to make the annual Community Thanksgiving dinner a success.
“We couldn’t do it without them,” Griffin said. “Everyone comes together and we are thankful to live in a community like ours.”