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Mike Zimmer Benefits Local Youth With Foundation Giveaway

Posted Aug 22, 2017

SAINT PAUL – The NFL regular season is still a few weeks away, but Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer got the opportunity to tackle Aaron Rodgers on Tuesday.

Or at least a likeness of Rodgers.

Mike Zimmer and Adam Zimmer spent the morning at the Salvation Army Northern Division (Saint Paul location) giving out backpacks that were donated by The Mike Zimmer Foundation.

Approximately 50 local youth were surprised by the two coaches. Among them was a young boy wearing an Aaron Rodgers jersey.

When the boy timidly approached Zimmer, the head coach got a mischievous look in his eye before teasing, “Hey! What’s this?” as he gestured to the green-and-gold. Zimmer than wrapped his arms around the young man in a “tackle,” the two of them laughing.

“It was kind of funny tackling Rodgers, right?” Zimmer quipped afterward. “I think I was able to tackle him [pretty good] … He’s a slick one to get.

“But no, it’s great,” Zimmer added. “It’s for the kids, and actually I thought it was a really funny moment.”

Despite his team allegiances, the young fan did receive his backpack.

“I was questioning whether we should give him one or not,” Adam Zimmer said with a chuckle. “But it’s all in good fun. And hopefully we can convert him to being a Vikings fan.”

Zimmer beforehand had briefly addressed the crowd of young people, explaining a little bit about the foundation and encouraging them to do their best in school and to cheer for the Vikings. The group listened attentively and showed Zimmer with applause before joining him in a loud cheer of “SKOL!”

Zimmer then helped each child choose the color backpack he or she wanted to take home. The Mike Zimmer Foundation provided 62 bags for elementary-school children and an additional 18 for high school students. Each backpack was filled with supplies that will help the youth start the 2017 school year on the right foot.

Captain Leti Crowell, who serves as a clergy at the Saint Paul Salvation Army along with her husband, said it has been at least five years since the summer day camp and Hmong Outreach Program received a backpack donation for their youth.

And the presence of the head coach wasn’t the most significant surprise of the day.

“We weren’t expecting this at all,” Crowell said. “We got a call saying that we were getting filled backpacks. Usually we just get [empty] backpacks, but these were filled with school supplies.”

Crowell explained that the majority of the youth are from a marginalized population and that “any little bit helps.” She said that many of the young people are very academics-focused but don’t have the financial resources to be well-prepared for school.

“It’s really great to be able to get these kids started out with the school year with all the things they need,” Zimmer said. “You know, education’s really important. We always think that sports is important, but education is more important. They have the opportunity to do these things, and then maybe [to also] play sports or whatever.

“We’ve been very blessed,” Zimmer added. “And part of it is that we continually honor [my wife] Vikki’s name. But to be able to give back to the community, you know, the people in Minnesota and the Twin Cities have been so great to me, so we want to try to do our part to give back to the community.”

Adam Zimmer said he’s happy that the foundation work has become a family affair and that he could be present for the giveaway. Adam credited his sister, Corri Zimmer-White, for all of her hard work as Executive Director of the Mike Zimmer Foundation. Corri, who resides in Texas, shopped for all of the school supplies, filled the backpacks and had them shipped to the Twin Cities.

“Corri does a great with everything in the Foundation, and to give back and see all the kids with the smiles on their faces, that’s just the rewarding part to come out here and see it,” Adam Zimmer said. “I think it’s amazing. She’s done such a good job of giving so many things to people. She’s given meals for Thanksgiving and now backpacks for school, so I think it’s really good to give back to everybody but in the Twin Cities, especially.”

Corri said it was important to her to directly benefit Minnesota youth in honor of her mother, Vikki, who passed away in 2009.

“We want to better the lives of children in need by helping them chase their dreams and promote a healthy, active way of living that stresses the importance of education, hard work and team work,” Corri said.