Justin Adamson, center for the University of Notre dame’s famed Fighting Irish football team, doesn’t just work hard on the field. Like many other college students whose finances are tight, he holds an outside job — working at Whole Foods Market, demonstrating salad dressings.
While dolling out tasty dressings to shoppers one day at a store in Ohio, Howard Goldberg stopped by Adamson’s table. Goldberg works for the nonprofit Purple Heart Homes, which purchases and renovates affordable homes for veterans.
Goldberg must also be a smooth talker, because by the end of their salad dressing exchange, Adamson had agreed to help renovate a home for an injured veteran. Not only that, but he said he’d bring along some of his teammates to provide additional manpower. Adamson told Andrew Cass of the News-Herald that he and Goldberg “talk[ed] for about an hour just going on about what this project means to a lot of people and what it can do in the community.”
Adamson took the idea to his coaches, who in turn, presented it to the team. Thirty football players jumped at the chance to volunteer, but only 12 players were able to be transported to the project. On April 25, the dozen helped demolish a kitchen and renovate the basement of the Ohio home of Leo Robinson, a wounded Marine Corps vet. (The house had been purchased by Purple Heart Homes.)
Once the renovation is complete, Robinson will pay 50 percent of the mortgage’s value, as part of the nonprofit’s mission to give vets a “hand up, not a hand out.”
Sophomore wide receiver Dajuhn Graham said, “I love doing things like this. My dad, that’s what he does for a living, he builds houses, and I actually do things like this so it’s nothing new to me.”
Homeowner Robinson told Cass that seeing all the football players pitch in to fix up his house “feels great. When we get back after going through everything we go through, it’s like you think people don’t care anymore, that society’s dead…But there are still people who care and want to help the community out.”