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Panthers help restore youth football field

CHARLOTTE – Thanks to a $300,000 renovation provided by the Carolina Panthers, National Football League and Lowe's, youths of the Derita Athletic Association have a sparkling new football field.

The Cheshire Field restoration project included several new installments, ranging from a field with an irrigation system, field lighting, refurbished press box, goal posts, scoreboard and more. Volunteers from Lowe's dedicated their time to help complete the vast improvements. 

"We appreciate all that Lowe's and the Panthers have done," Derita Athletic Association President George Griffin said. "I am elated."

The presence of Panthers linebackers Thomas Davis, Jon Beason and James Anderson for the field dedication celebration on Tuesday made the day even more special for the children in attendance.

As he walked off the newly-sodded field, past the bright new concession stand and onto the parking lot, Davis had to laugh when he was asked if he enjoyed anything like it as a youth.

"Absolutely not," Davis said. "We had a field that was a lot like these rocks (in the parking lot) over here."

"This is a huge moment for these kids, to see that the Panthers care," Davis added. "For us to come out here and interact with them – it's a special moment. As a kid, I would have loved to have had a moment like this."

Panthers Owner/Founder Jerry Richardson attended the celebration along with team president Danny Morrison, who reiterated the organization's support for youth football.

"We are so pleased to be a part of this," Morrison said. "The emphasis for the NFL and for the Carolina Panthers is really on youth football, and nobody has done that better over the last 40 years than the Derita Athletic Association."

Griffin is thrilled to see the project come to fruition, knowing how beneficial it will be for years to come.

"This is a phenomenal thing that I envisioned years ago," Griffin said. "This is a new beginning for our kids."

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