LUMBERTON, N.C.–Vonta Leach may have a Super bowl ring now, but he says he'll never forget where he came from.
“Rowland is my home, Rowland always will be my home, it's always a really special place in my heart,” said Leach.
And he couldn't be more excited to hold his first fundraiser in North Carolina in the county where he grew up. More than 300 people turned out in Lumberton Friday evening for a casino night at the Southeastern North Carolina Agricultural Center. All proceeds from the event went to the Vonta Leach Foundation, which was started by Leach in 2006. The foundation provides scholarships for local students and other youth activities.
Leach also invited more than 20 other pro football players to mingle with guests, so they could see how they're all just everyday guys. Joe Flacco, Michael Oher, and Ray Rice were just a few among the star-studded guest list.
“Just for people to interact with the guys, without helmets on, just to see what kind of person that they are, seeing that football players are just normal everyday guys, just to mingle with them and just have a conversation,” he said.
And because he considers himself an everyday guy, Leach makes sure he helps others get to the top as well.
“If I don't help somebody else get to the next level, then it didn't do me any good just to be where I am today,” said Leach. “You have to lift somebody as you climb; as I go higher up, I have to reach back and lift somebody up, for the cycle to continue.”
Leach will also host is annual Youth Football camp at Lumberton High School on Saturday morning. He says more than 800 campers are signed up for this year's camp, more than ever before.