CAIRO, GA (WALB) - For the kids at the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club in Cairo, Atlanta Falcons safety JJ Wilcox is a hero.
The Cairo native visited the club he grew up attending to speak with kids and to also honor his mother.
“The kids, they are going to attack him when he gets here,” said Stephen Francis as he lined up kids at the Jackie Robinson Boys & Girls Club. “They are going to love these shirts, they are going to put them on and for a couple hours today they are JJ Wilcox.”
Wilcox is their hometown hero, and he’s making his way back to his roots.
“I want to tell him that I’m happy he’s here,” said club member Makayla Howard.
Waiting for his arrival, Corzaylen Hines watched video of the NFL star.
“I look up to him and I see him on YouTube,” said Hines.
Hines said one day he hopes to be like Wilcox.
“He plays for our community and he’s close to us for our community. I feel happy and I’m excited to see him,” said Hines.
The other kids were just as excited.
“His love for his community is genuine. I like when he comes because they see a reality. It’s not just a dream it’s a reality. It makes them hope and dream that one day, if I do the things that JJ talks to me about, I can also be successful in my life,” said Francis.
“This is kind of the birth place where everything happened at. We use to come down here as boys and play in the yard and play in the park and it just means a lot to come back and give to my community,” said Wilcox.
Wilcox also does this to honor his mother who passed away while employed at the Boys & Girls Club.
“It tells a lot about how much she meant to this community, how much she meant to my family and the family and friends of Cairo,” said Wilcox.
Wilcox said he’s ready to give it all back to his community, sporting Falcons gear.
“Being able to play in front of the home team shows these kids that anything is possible, and I was in their shoes not too long ago,” said Wilcox.
The annual 5k run to honor Wilcox’s mother will be held Saturday.
Registration will start at 7 a.m. and the race will start at 8 a.m. at the Boys & Girls Club.