Atlanta Falcons players visit Fort Gordon troops

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, September 9, 2008

FORT GORDON, Ga.---The falcons players and cheerleaders flew from Atlanta in Black Hawk helicopters, and spent the day saying thank you on their one and only day off this week.

Soon, it's back to practice, getting ready to take on another team on Sunday, but for now, it's all about military appreciation.

"These guys are out there putting it on the line each and every day and it's an opportunity to say thanks," says Falcon Tight End Ben Hartsock.

"We have people here who go to Iraq and fight day in and day out and we really do appreciate what they're doing for this country," says Falcon Running back Jerious Norwood.

Players and cheerleaders from the Atlanta Falcons stopped by Fort Gordon to have lunch with everyone from Commanding General Jeff Foley, to the soldiers and seamen who have spent time overseas.

"It's nice to know we're appreciated. It is a good feeling," says Army Specialist Angel Mascareno.

"It's really nice for them to come out and say thanks for everything we do. It means a lot and makes everything worth it," says Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Matt Medina.

The players also held a meet and greet with an auditorium full of soldiers, who were able to be fans for about an hour. They talked football, signed autographs, and took plenty of pictures.

"We're playing a child's game and we're very aware of that and that's why it's important for us to come out and show our respect for those who are doing things that really matter," says Hartsock.

"We don't think we're that special, but a lot of people do. We're just doing our job," says Mascareno.

For the falcons, Community Tuesdays aren't just about doing their job. They're about ways to spend their days helping, and having fun.

"They posted this one in the locker room and I'm pretty sure guys were beating down the door to try to get here as soon as they could," says Hartsock.

And some of the players even traded some inside information.

"They wanna know how I make certain moves on the football field and I wanna know how they go out and risk their life for the country," says Norwood.

It was a day that meant a lot to both sides. The Falcons were also able to show their appreciation at their home opener on Sunday. Some of the Fort Gordon soldiers served as members of the flag crew and helped hold the Falcons flag before kickoff.

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