The Wes Welker Foundation has made significant financial donations to Oklahoma City schools' athletic programs, but Saturday afternoon was a celebration of a new venture.
In partnership with the Fields and Futures organization, Welker's foundation awarded a $24,000 grant to supply all necessary equipment to help rebuild soccer, football and softball fields at Jefferson Middle School in south Oklahoma City.
“It looked like a pasture before,” said Welker Foundation executive director Katie Rivers. “The outcome was amazing.”
The Wes Welker Foundation's mission is to help level the playing field for at-risk kids in Oklahoma City through athletics.
“I've dreamed the past five years for us to do a field,” Welker told the crowd. “This is just the beginning. I want you to take ownership in this field, because this is going to be a reflection of what we're going to do at other schools just like this.”
The celebration was scheduled during New England's bye week. A four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver with the Patriots, Welker enjoyed watching the development of a project that includes an irrigation system.
“It's been a cool experience,” Welker said. “We've been able to do a lot of great things. But the middle schools in Oklahoma City don't have anything. This field was a bunch of gravel. It looked bad, no condition for kids to play on. Now it makes you want to get out there and play.”
Welker said his foundation's endeavors inspire him on a daily basis.
“Whenever you don't feel like practicing, you have to pinch yourself and say, ‘It's been a long road but it's been a lot of fun,'” Welker said. “It's tough. It's hard but it's very rewarding, especially when you get to do things like this.”