NFL punter gives big donation to help North Myrtle Beach homeless teens
Tue, 06 May 2014 22:22:51 GMT —
A gift from an NFL star will help homeless teenagers on the Grand Strand.
Ryan Quigley, a New York Jets punter who's a native of North Myrtle Beach, will give $5,000 to the Teen Angel program.
The donation is the result of an NFL tradition. When a new player wants a jersey number that's already in use on a team, he pays the player who has that number.
Quarterback Michael Vick joined the Jets this year and decided he wanted the number one jersey. That number belonged to Quigley.
Quigley told Vick that he could have number one, if Vick donated $10,000 to charity.
Vick agreed, and Quigley gave half of the money to the Boys and Girls Club of New York.
Quigley's dad, who's athletic director at North Myrtle Beach High School, says Ryan also thought of home.
"Then he remembered about Teen Angel and mentioned to his mom, 'Hey, what would you think if I donated to Teen Angel', and she said, 'That's up to you, but that would be great.' "
Quigley told WPDE NewsChannel 15 by phone from the team's mini-camp in New York that there couldn't be a better charity than Teen Angel in his hometown.
"It was just one of those things that God placed in front of me. It's just one of those things that clicked, like oh, man, this is my opportunity to give back," Quigley said.
Renee Hembree started Teen Angel five years ago. The program helps pay for things homeless students need, from prom dresses to hair cuts to tennis shoes.
"You name it, it's expensive to be a high school student in a public school," Hembree said. "Your school is paid for, but to have the full experience costs money."
Among those helped by Teen Angel is North Myrtle Beach sophomore Caleb Moody, whose mother died of liver disease last fall.
Moody says he can't imagine where he'd be without the program.
"I would be probably a lot worse off and have a lot more difficulty getting where I am now," said Moody.
Vick is a controversial figure, having served prison time for bankrolling a dog fighting operation, but Hembree says that doesn't taint the Teen Angel donation one bit.
"It's God's money, anyway, so it's wonderful to see it make a circle and end up in a very positive way."
Hembree says she's known Ryan since he was little and she's not surprised he would make the donation.
She says he's the kind of young man who would think of others before himself.