Luke Willson benefited from the help of others growing up, so now is the time for him to reciprocate.
The Seattle Seahawks tight end was in Langley on Friday morning for the 12 North Golf Classic.
One hundred and forty-four golfers teed off at Redwoods Golf Course with money raised going to Special Olympics BC, growing youth football in Canada and the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program.
“I had a lot of opportunities growing up in Ontario and a lot of people before me gave back to make those opportunities possible so now it is my turn to pay it forward,” Willson explained.
“(This is) one of the things I pride myself on.”
The event was actually just part of a full sports weekend — the 12 North Sports Classic — with a youth football camp on Saturday at Burnaby’s Swangard Stadium, and then a celebrity charity flag football game later that day.
This is the second year Willson has hosted the weekend and he said it is a way to say thanks to the legion of ’12s’, Seahawk supporters who are north of the border.
“It is kind of cool especially because of all the support we get from up here,” he said. “It is something I really appreciate so I try and give back.”
Among the golfers on Friday were Willson’s Seahawks teammates George Fant and Tanner McEvoy as well as former Seahawk Jim Zorn.
Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen and Sven Baertschi were also in attendance.
Prior to the golfers teeing off, they heard from Langley’s Christian Burton, a Special Olympic athlete who plays golf, basketball and bowling.
The 22-year-old has been a Special Olympic athlete for seven years.
“I like being involved in Special Olympics because I am accepted and respected,” he said. “It is inclusive and provides an excellent sense of community.”
“Supporting each other is key to our success as athletes and members of society.”