Washington Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan hosted his fourth annual "Celebrity Waiter Night" at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, D.C., on Monday night.
To understand the growth and impact of linebacker Ryan Kerrigan's "Blitz for the Better" foundation, all you had to do was take a look at the amount of people that filled the Washington, D.C., Grand Hyatt ballroom on Monday night.
Ryan Kerrigan unveiled a 'Kerrigan's Korner' at the HSC Pediatric Center in NE Washington, D.C.. It provides patients and families access to technology as a means for relaxation and communication during their hospital stays.
Close to 300 people sat for dinner and a live auction at Kerrigan's fourth annual "Celebrity Waiter Night," a sizeable jump from the 80 participants that attended the event in 2013, when the foundation was first establishing its roots throughout the DMV.
"It's awesome to see this foundation continue to grow and to continue to expand its outreach across the DMV," Kerrigan addressed the crowd. "Thank you to all of you for being here, for helping make our signature event such a great time."
Kerrigan ended up raising more $260,000 for his foundation, aided by a $10,000 donation from presenter Northwestern Mutual, the proceeds of which will support initiatives like installing more Kerrigan's Korners in local hospitals.
Kerrigan's Korners are lockers filled with electronics, games and entertainment software designed to help chronically and critically ill children and their families pass the time during hospital stays.
Several of Kerrigan's teammates – Houston Bates, David Bruton Jr., Colt McCoy, Dustin Hopkins and Spencer Long – joined the festivities by tying up chef aprons, uncorking bottles of wine and topping up guests' glasses, making good on the event's name.
Throughout dinner, they each migrated from table to table, chatting up donors and those who had come to support the foundation. Lines quickly formed for autographs, selfies and small conversation.
"It was fun," Bruton Jr. said. "You know it's always great to come out and support a teammate and his efforts in helping the community. It says a lot about his character and I feel like this organization is built around high character guys who want to make a difference in the community, so for me to be a new guy and still see it come to fruition and not just be all talk, it's great."
Bruton Jr. said he's spent time in Sonoma and Napa Valley and is a part of some wine clubs, so his duties Monday weren't too challenging. Still learning, on the other hand, is Bates, who made sure to set some ground rules with guests before he began pouring.
"I'm slowly, but surely, becoming a professional at wine pouring," Bates said. "I usually tell them beforehand that I'm not a professional, so that gives me some leeway to spill it on them and doing that kind of stuff, but I'm getting better, I'm getting a lot better. But it's for a great cause so, spill or no spill, it's for a good cause for sure."
Dinner was followed by a live auction, while a silent auction offered game-worn and signed jerseys, photographs and other sports memorabilia. Like each event he's helped create, Kerrigan was thrilled to make another impact for those in need.
"I've seen, first hand, the effects a special needs child can have on his or her family," Kerrigan said. "That's why I give back, to give support and resources to the children and families to make lives a little easier. It means a lot to me to be able to help this community. Washington has been a great place to me and has enabled me to give back to our community."