When Joshua Morgan entered their classrooms with stacks of books, most of the children at Washington Grove Elementary School cheered. Others were struck silent, staring at the Redskins receiver with wide eyes and open mouths before rushing in for hugs and high fives.
Morgan visited the Montgomery County school in Gaithersburg, Md., Thursday to take part in the sixth annual Redskins Read FedEx Special Delivery event.
FedEx volunteers helped Morgan unload a delivery truck full of activity books and and stories about Hank Aaron, Barack Obama and more. Throughout the life of the program, FedEx and the Redskins Charitable Foundation have delivered more than 1.7 million books across he Washington, D.C. metro area.
“We’re dedicated to sponsoring the community and making sure our presence is felt… doing the right things for the right reasons,” FedEx Senior Manager, Station Operations, Chrisopher Howard said.
“It’s great to be partnered with the Washington Redskins.”
While FedEx volunteers dispersed through the school and read the new books to more than 400 students, Howard and Morgan stopped by 12 classrooms to visit kids from kindergarten to fifth grade.
Morgan said a difficult 2013 season and his upcoming free agency would not affect his commitment to his hometown community.
“Just because things are difficult on the field, as far as the team goes, you don’t make the kids suffer for that,” he said.
“You always do what you can to uplift the kids and uplift the community.”
Morgan said encouraging reading is vital because “if you can’t read, you can’t do anything.”
“Me personally, I’m addicted to words,” Morgan said. “That’s how I ended up writing poetry.”
When he came across an English class writing poems, Morgan stopped at one boy’s desk, carefully read his poem and congratulated the author on his work.
Principal Susan Barranger said having a “hometown hero” extol the virtues of reading makes a huge difference.
“For him to say reading is important and to bring you books makes it all the more exciting for them,” she said.
“If Joshua Morgan says it’s cool to read, than I guess maybe I’ll try reading this book. We’re very appreciative.”
Morgan wrapped up his tour with an appearance on the school’s television program, “Cougar TV.”
Fifth-grader Devin Hackett interviewed Morgan in front of a green screen about life in the NFL, what he learned from being a student athlete at Virginia Tech and a highlight run in 2012.
Afterward, Morgan told his young host he’d be working for ESPN one day.
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