Too often we hear about athletes or former athletes breaking laws, getting arrested, or disturbing the peace. I freely admit a lot of that has to do with the media pouncing on any story which has a scandalous headlines which will drive readership, but still it’s disheartening to say the least. That’s why when an opportunity comes along to report stories that remind us of the good humans can produce, as was the case this past week at The Great American Milk Drive launch, I jump all over it.
The fine folks at the North Texas Food Bank in partnership with Dairy Max represented by Vice President of Health and Wellness Dr. Lana Frantzen, Dean Foods represented by VP of Marketing Greg Schwarz, and former Dallas Cowboys tight end Jay Novacek donated 500 galls of milk to kickoff the #MilkLife campaign with the goal of making it easy to give a gallon of Milk with the click of a mouse or a simple text.
I asked Jay Novacek what it meant to him personally donating 500 gallons of milk to the NTFB, and he quickly deflected the praise to others saying, “To be part of this is very touching. To help in any way that we can, not just myself, but it’s all the volunteers, all the people and companies who are involved with this, is great.” He continued, “Any time you can help a person, especially a child, is remarkable. The great thing about the North Texas Food Bank is that they give food to everyone.”
Fans who witnessed Cowboys games from those great Dallas 90’s dynasty teams know what a clutch performer Novacek was. On many occasions when the team needed a key play or a crucial first down, Quarterback Troy Aikman usually found his trusty tight end Novacek for the catch.
As integral as Jay was to the past three Cowboys Super Bowl wins, he seems to have transcended his importance post career. He shared a touching story about his daughter inviting a friend to dinner whom his family knew was struggling to provide food to the child saying, “We don’t really have that the situation with a hungry child around us all the time. It’s something you just want to help them, feed them, and you want to give them the opportunity to have nourishment. When you hear about things like this and your children see it with their own eyes, it really touches your heart.”
While the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor is withheld for what some believe to be the most elite Cowboys alumni, it sure seems to me that Novacek’s play on the field during the Cowboys Super Bowl wins coupled with his superior representation of the franchise in retirement may warrant him a spot in the ROH. I asked him if he thought he might ever make it in and he chuckled replying, “I don’t know about that. I know some of my buddies back home that I grew up with have talked about sneaking in and painting my name up there.” Novacek continued, “The Cowboys organization, Jerry and his family, have donated so much time and money to all sorts of different charities. They’re a remarkable family, and I’m just honored that they allowed me to play football for them.”
Novacek was humble, eloquent in his speech, and displayed kindness and generosity during The Great American Milk Drive kickoff. At one point he stopped and helped unload the truck carrying the milk he donated. Jay may not be the Cowboy who comes first to mind when folks think about the 1990’s dynasty teams, but when it comes to caring for the hopeless and hungry in North Texas, Novacek’s name is top of the list.
If you would like to be part of The Great American Milk Drive, you can do so with the simple click of a mouse (www.milklife.com/give) or text message (text “MILK” to 27722), and it’s possible to buy much-needed milk and donate it for as little as $5.00 . By entering your zip code, you can ensure that the milk is delivered from the farm to a local Feeding America food bank in your very own community.
Follow Matt Thornton on Twitter: @MattsCowboys