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Sun., Jul. 19, 2015 7:30 AM PDT
Nick Hardwick, Offensive Line Show Strong Support of Military Families
Nick Hardwick is entering his 10th season with the Chargers.
Although he hails from Indianapolis, he’s adopted San Diego as his home, raising his family in America’s Finest City and giving back to the community whenever he can.
He continued his philanthropic nature with a cause dear to his heart – the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation (MCLEF), as he’s put countless resources toward ensuring the success of children and spouses of fallen Marines and federal law enforcement officers. Over 99% of money raised for MCLEF is given directly to those in need, an astronomical percentage for any charity. For many reasons, the entire offensive line has supported MCLEF for a number of years.
“About eight years ago, Kris Dielman introduced me to this foundation,” Hardwick explained. “We went and presented a bond from the Chargers offensive line to a family with a couple of kids. There was one kid who was five years old, and his face lit up and was excited just about the opportunity to meet some Chargers players, which was really cool. And what brought me in was how good it made me feel to help this program out. And then I learned more and more about the program and how on the right side of the moral compass it is. Over 99% of the money raised is given to the families who lost someone in service. Everyone is scrapping and doing what they can to help out.”
Hardwick and the offensive line have raised money for the foundation in various ways since his involvement.
“We have a program called Touchdowns for Kids, which is open to the public too,” Hardwick said. “It benefits MCLEF and fans can donate alongside the offensive line. Members of the offensive line donate $100 per touchdown for the entire season. At the end of the year we cut a check for however many touchdowns we score. Alongside that, the Chargers are donating $2,500 on my behalf, and $2,500 on Jeromey Clary’s behalf. It’s fantastic to get this support from the organization, and I look up to them for it. It’s really special.”
You can find more information about the Touchdown for Kids initiative by vising the website at www.touchdown4kids.com.
At Thursday’s annual Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation Benefit Dinner, a special program was announced with California State University San Marcos and Brandman University offering scholarship support to MCLEF recipients and their families. Hardwick and the San Diego County Office of Education, led by HR Director Chris Reising, facilitated the development of this unique collaboration. CSUSM is granting Complimentary Extended Learning Program enrollments to MCLEF eligible adult dependents or spouses. Extended Learning offers degree programs and both academic credit and non-credit professional enrichment courses as well as career-based certificate programs that help individuals achieve their educational and training goals. Meanwhile, Brandman is offering reduced tuition, equal to the rates offered to active duty service members and their spouses, which is currently 50% reduction, for each MCLEF awardee who wishes to pursue any of their 52+ associate, undergraduate, or graduate degree programs. In addition, Brandman will provide MCLEF awardees personalized academic advising and assist with pathways toward a college degree.
“This is the best charity that you’ve never heard of,” said Reising. “For me, it’s an opportunity to blend it into my work to change one life at a time whether it’s the spouse or the child. It’s a chance for those who are lucky to give back to those who have suffered something misfortunate. I’m lucky to have someone like Nick who cares deeply and has given so much of his time to help these families.”
Not to be overlooked is Jeromey Clary, another offensive lineman who attended the MCLEF dinner and has donated time and money for the cause.
“This is a really good charity that takes care of fallen soldiers families,” said the team’s right guard.
“They are out there fighting for our freedom, so if something happens and their family needs to be taken care of, this is where the charity comes in. The thing I like about it the most is just about 100% of the money goes directly to the families. There is pretty much zero overhead. A lot of people sometimes aren’t comfortable donating money because they aren’t sure where it’s going, but with MCLEF, you can be sure your money is going to the right people. That’s really important. This is my sixth or seventh year with them and it’s a great charity. We’re trying to get big buzz. My sister’s involved. We’re trying to get as many people as possible involved to help out.”
Click here for more information about the Marine Corps - Law Enforcement Foundation.