EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Blair Walsh revisited his youth to help a family in need.
Walsh adopted Lilia Quito and her three children this month through The Salvation Army to brighten the holidays by providing needs and wants.
"It was fun. The little guy was easy to pick out for because I just tried to put myself as an 8 year old," Walsh said. "I struggled with the girl, but I think I got some cool items she'll like."
The family visited Vikings practice at Winter Park last Saturday when Walsh hand-delivered the gifts that ranged from a stroller and household items like cookware and bedding to arts and crafts and toys. Walsh also picked out a soccer ball and played on the field with the two oldest children.
"This is awesome to meet them and see them smile, put a little joy on their Christmases," Walsh said. "I've been blessed to be put in this position that I am to play in this league and earn a good living, so any time I can find the opportunity to give back to families in need or people who have just started a family, it means the world to me."
Walsh kept pulling out bag after bag and box after box, enjoying every time one of the family members smiled.
"It's a good thing to go overboard on," Walsh said. "The Salvation Army is such a great cause, and to be able to adopt a family through them for the holidays to kind of make everyone's time a little more enjoyable."
Captain Kelli Trejo, who co-pastors with her husband at The Salvation Army's Temple Worship and Service Center, 1604 East Lake Street, has been working with the Quito family since fall.
The family connected with The Salvation Army through programs offered at the South Minneapolis facility, Trejo said, and The Salvation Army helped when the little boy needed an emergency surgery. She said the adoption by Walsh "is such a blessing."
"I knew they weren't going to be able to have the same Christmas that other children would have, so when the opportunity came for them to be adopted, I knew they would not only receive toys, but also things that they need," Trejo said.