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‘Amazing’ way to give back

Guyton has festival at Bradwell

POSTED: March 15, 2010 10:14 a.m.
Photo by Patty Leon/

Georgia Tech player Jason Hill and Patriots Darryl Richard and Gary Guyton challenge teams of Bradwell Institute students and community members during the bingo portion of Friday's Amazing Race challenge.

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The sun came out long enough Friday afternoon for participants to put their bodies and minds to the test in an "Amazing Race"-style competition that pitted teams of students and community members against former BI Tiger and current NFL linebacker Gary Guyton and his friends. The challenge kicked off the first-ever Gary Guyton Sports Festival, held Friday and Saturday at Bradwell Institute.

Guyton teamed up with his New England Patriot teammate Darryl Richard and two teammates from his days at Georgia Tech, Jason Hill and Brad Jefferson, to challenge several local teams. The race tested the competitors’ athletic abilities with physical contests and mental prowess with math problems and word games. At one point, team members ran blindfolded around the bases on the baseball field. Any team unable to complete a task got stuck with an additional 15-minute time penalty.

"It was a lot of fun," Guyton said after the race. "We took a couple of penalties, but it was a lot of fun and a lot of running. But we enjoyed it."

The game and the event were organized by Flying Colors Sports, an Ohio-based public and community relations firm that serves professional athletes all over the country. Greg Benton, owner of Flying Colors Sports, said he’s been in business for five years.

"We work with pro athletes around the country and we help them get engaged in the community, to give back," Benton said. "We help them organize functions to get involved with kids and do charity work. Most of the players or clients we work with come from communities where they actually had mentors who did that for them and it’s nice for them to come full circle and give back to the next generation. And our hope is that this is something that will continue."

When Guyton saw an opportunity to give back to the community where he grew up, he said he took it and decided on a sports festival. He told the student athletes he was just like them when he attended high school and said with hard work, anything is possible.

"Stay in school, keep working out and do what you have to do and it will pay off in the long run," he said. "Life is way bigger than Hinesville, but first you have to do everything here."

Guyton has been busy with charity work, according to his agent, Richard Kopelman.

Kopelman said Guyton had a fundraiser for a New England boy who was paralyzed.

"He had an amazing turnout on a Thursday night in the middle of winter," Kopelman said. "Just to watch Gary, just as he is with people who he knows, he’s the same way with people that he’s never met. He is very engaging, a great young guy."

The linebacker said he jumped at the chance to help the young athletes. "He was paralyzed, but I think he is getting some movement in his legs now," Guyton said of the boy. "I heard about him. He became paralyzed playing football so from one athlete to the next ... This is a very dangerous sport, so once I got the call and they told me about it, I said, ‘Let’s go for it. Let’s do it.’"

Being able to give back to his own community is something Guyton always planned to do.

"It feels good to come out here and have support from your family and friends," he said. "Everybody came out and supported the event and I think it’s a good thing, and I’m happy people showed up and are enjoying it. We had a pretty good crowd today, so I’m happy."

The event was set to continue Saturday with football, cheerleading and basketball clinics throughout the day. In the evening, Guyton had plans for a 3-point shooting contest and a celebrity vs. coaches basketball game.

"A lot to a little, my favor," the NFL star said when asked what the final score of the basketball game would be. "I’m putting up a lot of numbers tomorrow — LeBron James numbers."

See Wednesday’s Coastal Courier for a wrap up of all of Saturday’s activities.

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