BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. --
Thunder bellowed from the bleachers as, one by one, each player entered the stadium. The field, lined every few yards with white, painted numbers, was moments from seeing a game played by extraordinary people from all over the country.
Filled with families and local community members, the cause joining those in attendance were the stars of the day: children with Down syndrome. Hosted by the Global Down Syndrome Foundation and its co-sponsors Ed and Christian McCaffrey, National Football League stars, this year marked the 10th annual Dare to Play game in Highlands Ranch, Colorado.
The Dare to Play football games and cheerleading series focus on building the self-esteem of kids with Down syndrome and promoting healthier and more active lifestyles. Coached by NFL players, the Denver Broncos cheerleaders, and volunteers from the U.S. Air Force Academy, the players were familiarized with good sportsmanship and technique.
Service members assigned to Buckley Air Force Base were among those in the crowd.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to come out with others in uniform to support this event,” said Col. Devin Pepper, 460th Space Wing commander. “To see so many people passionate about leaving a positive impact on the lives of children with Down syndrome speaks volumes. I look forward to opportunities where we can continue to support the community.”
Service members in attendance were able to represent Buckley AFB during the singing of the national anthem prior to the start of the game. The event also allowed Team Buckley to meet the participants and learn more about community and the cause.
“I am glad I took the time out to support the event,” said Tech. Sgt. Isaiah Jones, 460th Civil Engineer Squadron NCO in charge of pavements and equipment. “The event really opened my eyes to how supportive the community is to those with Down syndrome.”
“As a football fan, I was really impressed with how organized and prepared the event and players were,” added Jones. “While watching, you could tell the players were having a great time! I can’t wait to support the event next year.”