Waukesha native and NFL player Kevin Zeitler makes contribution to support his hometown
WAUKESHA, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Waukesha native Kevin Zeitler grew up just off Main Street, he's walked the streets, he's attended the Christmas parade just like the children that were injured.
This week Zeitler and his wife quietly made a sizable contribution to the Waukesha County Community Foundation to help out his neighbors, and he's hoping it encourages others to do the same.
After landing in Baltimore Sunday night after beating the Bears, Kevin Zeitler's phone blew up for the wrong reasons. He said the alerts all read, "'Waukesha, Wisconsin.' 'Waukesha holiday parade.' 'Severe injuries.' 'Car ran over.'"
His hometown was national news. "The thought of something like that this time of year, so family-friendly, so fun, just to turn everyone's life upside-down like that."
He worried about his family and reached out right away. But he was lucky. They usually go to the parade but didn't this year. But Zeitler said, "Our neighbors from our house in Wisconsin had actually been there and it happened right in front of them, and they all got out ok."
Immediately Zeitler says the Ravens organization -teammates, coaches, and front office staff- offered support. And in the following days he reached out to other NFL players from the Waukesha area to see what they could do for their hometown. Zeitler, Joe Schobert, and the Watt brothers have made financial contributions and shared messages in support of their community. Zeitler said, "Every guy, however they've personally decided to help, any help is good help right now."
Zeitler and his wife Sara are contributing $20,000, and the Ravens organization is matching it. But both Zeitler and the Ravens are downplaying the amount, instead focusing on the message behind it. He said, "I'm hoping more than anything my support will motivate others to send their support, whether financially or through their time or service."
Zeitler said there's a lot of Wisconsin pride in Waukesha, and he's sure people will be back at next year's parade. And with a smile, he said he hopes the Ravens' matching contribution will get the Packers to do the same thing.