Former collegiate, professional football player hosts annual Thanksgiving dinner
Published 4:00 am Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Cornelius Griffin has lived his boyhood dream of playing college football and then playing the game on Sunday afternoons and on Monday nights.
Today, Griffin is living his manhood dream – that of being a husband and father.
“Football was an important part of my life but nothing is more important to me than my family,” Griffin said. “I was blessed to have the abilities to play football on the college and profession levels. I am more blessed to be a husband and father.”
Griffin lost his dad in a car accident when he was 21 years old. He treasures the memories he has of his dad and is dedicated to creating memories for his children, Mikalah, 10; C.J., eight, and Hailey, six.
“When they grow up I want them to say, ‘I remember when I did ‘this’ and ‘that’ with my dad,” he said. “I want them to have memories of me and of their mom and of us as a family. That would be my greatest blessing and that’s my dream now.”
Griffin paused for thought as he and his wife, Kimberly, hosted the annual community Thanksgiving dinner Tuesday at Brundidge Station. This was the 15th year Griffin has hosted the dinner, which is prepared by a host of ladies from Lily White Church and the New Jerusalem Campground, with his mom, Martha, as chief cook.
Griffin, his wife, Kimberly, and their children, helped serve the plates for those who dined in, — more than 100 of them. Another 540 carryouts were delivered by members of the Brundidge Rotary Club and community volunteers.
“This is important to me,” Griffin said. “I remember being in New Jersey and sitting by myself on Thanksgiving Day and thinking no one should have to be alone on holidays. I wanted to do something about that. I’m blessed to be able to give back, in this way, to the community that has always supported me. And, I want my children to understand how important people and community are.”
Mikalah said she is proud that her dad cares about people and wants to do good things for them.
“The dinner is for people that live by themselves and those that are sick and can’t go out and do things for themselves,” she said. “To me, it would be sad to have to eat Thanksgiving by yourself.”
“Thanksgiving is about sharing and I hope we keep doing this for a long, long time,” Hailey said.
Right now, C.J. is focused on his boyhood dream of playing football “on and on.”
However, when he hangs up his cleats, he plans to host a Thanksgiving dinner just like his dad. He’ll have turkey and fried chicken, which is his favorite, and maybe … “French fries.”
One of the memories Cornelius Griffin is creating centers around football. He and C.J. attend games together and they also watch games on television.
“I’d rather watch the game on TV,” Griffin said. “I have a habit of missing things so I like the replays.”
But, Griffin’s favorite replay is of the annual community Thanksgiving dinner in Brundidge the Tuesday before Thanksgiving.
“I hope it will continue for many more years,” Griffin said. “This is Thanksgiving for me and my family and we thank the many volunteers who help make it possible for our community.”