HEAT Host Holiday Hospital Visits
The holiday season is a time of giving, and on Wednesday, December 12, the Miami HEAT gave both time and gifts to special South Florida military servicemen and women and critically ill children.
HEAT President and Head Coach Pat Riley and the entire HEAT team hosted the HEAT Holiday Hospital Visit. This year, the HEAT split up into teams to visit two hospitals, the Holtz Childrens Hospital at UM/Jackson Memorial Medical Center and the Miami VA Medical Center.
At the Holtz Childrens Hospital, HEAT players Dwyane Wade, Alonzo Mourning, Jason Williams, Dorell Wright, Ricky Davis, Earl Barron and Mark Blount, along with Burnie and the HEAT Dancers, helped spread the holiday cheer to its young patients by distributing toys and other gifts generated from the Miami HEAT Toy Drive.
Wade and several other HEAT players arrived at the hospital in a FedEx truck filled with toys and other gifts. The HEAT players helped unload the truck to personally deliver the gifts to the children of the hospital.
This is the most wonderful time of the year, said Wade, because its a time when youre expected to give. The hospital visit is one of the events I look forward to every year because it gives us a chance to get away from basketball to put smiles on kids faces and lift the spirits of children who need it most.
The HEAT players and Dancers took photos, signed autographs and interacted with the children.
We all have the opportunity to bring joy to a young persons life, said Mourning. Some of these kids wont get a chance to spend Christmas at home, but that shouldnt stop them from experiencing the holiday joy.
While some HEAT players were at Jackson Memorial visiting children, Riley and the rest of the HEAT players were at VA Medical Center to visit injured US servicemen and women.
Riley, along with Shaquille ONeal, Udonis Haslem, Chris Quinn, Daequan Cook Alexander Johnson, Joel Anthony and Luke Jackson, distributed 15 Strong Gift Bags to 75 soldiers in honor of the holiday season and for their courageous efforts serving the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom missions.
The gift bags included a 15 Strong commemorative book, a HEAT team yearbook, a Larry OBrien championship replica trophy, a HEAT 20th Anniversary commemorative T-shirt, as well as other HEAT memorabilia. Riley, ONeal and the other HEAT players also signed autographs and took pictures.
As the child of a serviceman, I can appreciate their sacrifice to our country, said ONeal. This is a way we show our support and appreciation by coming out and saying thank you.
Honoring US soldiers isnt new for Riley and the HEAT. Implemented during the 2006-07 season, the Miami HEAT Home Strong Initiative honors military personnel and their families who have so bravely served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan and have recently returned home.
The HEAT Holiday visit at Holtz Childrens Hospital was sponsored by FedEx and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida.