Jackson Elementary School – 1:00 PM
For their final stop of the 2016 Rose City Road Trip, Timber Joey and company went to Medford's Jackson Elementary School. There, in conjunction with volunteer organization Unete, the group – with the help of over 20 volunteers – helped pack food and hygiene supplies for low-income Latino farm families in Rogue Valley.
Unete has been delivering advocacy and educational services, along with much-needed food and supplies, to Latino farm families in Rogue Valley since 1996. This year, Unete teamed up with Providence Health Services and the Portland Timbers to deliver some 25 care packages to families in the Medford community.
"We feel very fortunate to have been able to do this," explained Unete volunteer Kathy Keesee.
At four separate stations, volunteers – including everyone from Timber Joey himself to Miss Latina Rogue Valley 2015 – filled bags with oats, beans, and rice, and then packed those items with other food and hygiene supplies into boxes that will be delivered to needy Latino families in Rogue Valley. With so many volunteers pitching in, the entire assembly line finished packing the boxes in less than 20 minutes!
But as Keesee explains it, having representatives from the Portland Timbers means a lot to a community for whom soccer serves such an important function.
"In the Mexican community," she said, "soccer is almost equal with the church."
No better way to conclude this year's Rose City Road Trip than with outreach efforts to one of the most vulnerable communities in Oregon and one for whom the participation of the Portland Timbers means so much.
U.S. Cellular Community Park – 10:30 AM
After the event at Providence Medford Medical Center, Timber Joey and the players headed to Medford's U.S. Cellular Community Park for a community camp clinic.
There, Jewsbury, Damraoui, and Richards staged impromtu Q&As, helped out at the dribbling station, and directed the kids in their short sided games. At one point Damraoui, his signature shock of curly hair standing out above a pack of pre-teen players, slowly modeled the control and dribbling exercises for the kids.
Jewsbury is in his element, running small-sided matches, watching, giving instructions, and occasionally, inserting himself into the action.
William, 13, explained what it was like to receive a pass from Jewsbury: "It was amazing," he said. "I've seen him on TV, so to see him here in person...was just amazing."
Richards, meanwhile was grinning from ear-to-ear as he walked off the field. "Got in some good tackles," he joked. "That's my level," laughed Damraoui when asked what it was like to play with the youngest-aged kids.
During the formal Q&A with the players, the kids asked all kinds of questions: How did you get to be Timber Joey? What was your biggest challenge? How many goals have you scored? When did you start playing?
After Jewsbury and Richards both responded that they began playing at age five, one eager young camp participant raised his hand.
"I started playing when I was five and I'm five now!" he exclaimed.
"Did you start playing today?" Jewsbury asked.
"Yes," the child replied to a round of applause from the other attendees.
Providence Medford Medical Center – 9:00 AM
The Portland Timbers kicked off this year's Rose City Road Trip, presented by Providence Health & Services, with a trip to the Providence Medford Medical Center in Medford, Ore.
The crew next went up to the Spine & Orthopedics Unit to visit a few recovering patients. One patient, who didn't know much about the Timbers told the group that they had just made a new fan. "Now that I've met you guys," he said, "Now I have to watch you guys." Jewsbury explained to him that the Timbers' next match was at home on Sunday. "I'm definitely gonna watch it," the patient replied.
Timber Joey and the rest of the group finished their hospital visit with a trip to see the outpatients in rehabilitation. Biking and running in place in the rehab gym, these are patients who have recently had a heart surgery and are now on the road to recovery.
Addressing both Timbers players and staff, Cindy Mayo, Chief Executive for Providence in Southern Oregon, wanted to thank the Portland Timbers organization for everything it does in the community. "Thank you for investing in your community just as we do in ours," she said.