| The Detroit News
As the pandemic continues to surge in Michigan and around the country, Lions defensive end Trey Flowers wanted to make sure that the work that first responders are putting in isn’t going unnoticed.
Through his foundation, Flowers of the Future, Flowers donated 4,000 meals over the past two weeks to workers at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. In a partnership with Happy’s Pizza, Flowers’ foundation served 1,000 meals of pizza, wings and fries to show their gratitude for their efforts during the pandemic.
“There are still people dying and still people who are sick and healthcare workers are still putting in energy, putting in the time and putting in efforts to try to get it under control,” Flowers said. “I just wanted to show a token of appreciation for them in this unprecedented time of the pandemic.”
The meals were split over the past two weeks, with 1,000 served each of the previous two Wednesdays and Thursdays, during a morning and evening shift. Each meal was individually boxed to reduce the risk of serving them in a bigger group setting and so the workers could enjoy them at their leisure.
Flowers said he developed a greater appreciation for healthcare workers after being around his sister, Jazzmine, who is a breast cancer survivor after being diagnosed at the age of 21.
“When she was going through her chemotherapy, there were people there to help her when I visited,” Flowers said. “When I took her to some of her therapy appointments, I saw firsthand how important it is to just have nurses and a lot of other people behind the scenes that a lot of people don’t really notice. We think about doctors and surgeons but there are a lot of people that help make it go. Just seeing them, I understand that there are a lot of people behind this and a lot of people working.
“There are families and kids who are missing their mothers and fathers who are out there working. It just makes me appreciate people in the healthcare industry that much more because it’s really an unselfish act when you leave your family and come in to help someone who may be sick or may have a disease. They put their health at risk or their family’s health at risk, but they still choose to do it.”
Although Flowers wasn’t able to be at Henry Ford Hospital in person to see the meals delivered because of distancing precautions during the NFL season, he was happy to see that his efforts made a difference.
Because of the distancing and precautions, it’s still difficult to put on events and to show his gratitude the way Flowers normally would. He sees through videos that the workers are thankful, but Flowers’ nature is more like he has to have with quarterbacks — up-close and personal with some contact.
“That’s one of the things that I don’t like about this pandemic, just the fact that I’m more of a hands-on type of guy. I like to feel the vibes, the energy, see the smiles, get the hugs,” Flowers said. “It’s kind of hard for me. I’ll do whatever but for me, it’s just seeing people happy and seeing people appreciative, with joy and smiles on their faces.
“I still wanted to do something just to let them know that I and so many other people out here are looking out for them.”
The foundation also has done considerable work in Flowers’ hometown of Huntsville, Ala., including scholarships for students in the Huntsville City School and a program with the Boys & Girls Club of North Alabama.