It’s the last week of the season for the Colts. And Indianapolis is in a deep freeze.
In honor of fan appreciation week, the Colts are giving out limited edition scarves to every fan who walks through the doors of Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.
On Friday, they showed appreciation to the city workers who help out on game day by delivering scarves to them – along with lunch from Giordano’s.
It was a much appreciated gesture on a cold and snowy day at the Indianapolis Fire Department’s Station 13 on Ohio Street.
“We’re out there doing what we normally do. Cold weather or not, we still have to show up and take care of business and that’s what we do – kind of like the Colts,” said Battalion Chief Rita Reith.
While Colts mascot, Blue, slid down the pole and played on the trucks, Colts cheerleaders Abby and Hannah tried on the equipment.
“We just did a gear race,” Hannah said. “We were talking to one of the firefighters about how fast they get ready and put on all their gear and he said about 60 seconds. We were like, ‘Oh my gosh, that is freakishly fast.’”
The suit itself weighs 40 pounds. They also carry a backpack that weighs 25 pounds.
“When I got it on, the first thought I had was, ‘How do they run in this and climb ladders?’ I could barely move," Abby said. “They have to be in really good shape to do that. It gives you a new found respect for what they do and how they do it.”
Linebacker John Simon also came out to show his support for some true community heroes.
“We’re practicing indoors today where it’s nice and warm. And they’re running into burning buildings and out here in the freezing cold,” he said.
For Simon, who grew up in Ohio, coming to the Colts meant returning to his Midwest roots – and he couldn’t be happier about it.
“Moving to Indianapolis this year and seeing how great the people are, how friendly the people are, it’s a true Midwest mentality here and I love it.”
Wide receiver Krishawn Hogan grew up in Indy and played for Marian University. On Friday, he made his first community appearance with the team he grew up cheering for, bringing scarves and pizza to workers at the Julia M. Carson Transit Center Downtown.
“Any time IndyGo is appreciated for all the hard work that the employees do is fantastic, especially with a local team during fan appreciation week,” said Public Relations Director Lauren Day.
And to have a hometown guy show up to do it made it a sweet treat for everyone.
“When people find out that I’m from here, they feel like they can relate to me,” Hogan said. “I have people who work in these types of jobs in my family, so it makes it real special.”
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department’s East District sees a lot of action – especially this time of year.
Friday was a chance for them to take a few minutes before the start of their shift to relax, let their guard down, and feel appreciated for all they do.
“It’s a wonderful opportunity for us and we’re just super excited to be able to break bread, see Blue, and enjoy the end of the old year and usher in the new,” said Sergeant Christopher Wilburn.
The Colts couldn’t do what they do without the brave men and women of IMPD and others across the country. Which is one of the reasons cornerback Rashaan Melvin wanted to come out and show his appreciation.
“People don’t really understand. When we travel, police officers come from all over to make sure we get to where we need to go on time and protected,” he said. “For those guys to take time out of their days and their busy schedules to transport us, to protect us during the game, after the game, it’s incredible.”
And in return, they entertain them on game day.
“It’s a partnership that’s mutually beneficial. The officers get to interact with the sports team, the athletes get to interact with the police officers – normalizing what we do and valuing what we do and then codifying that relationship by breaking bread and chatting each other up,” Wilburn said. “It’s really, really neat.”
For the players, it’s part of the job and a part they love to do.
“You have to take the time to get to know people if you plan on being here for a while and making this your home,” Melvin said. “It’s been a blessing to be here, to come out here and show the guys that we really appreciate them.”
And that’s what this week is about – showing appreciation to those who make game day what it is, finishing strong, and giving the fans something to hold onto until next season. <br>