Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey hosts football camp for Fort Bragg families

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- Carolina Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey learned at a young age from his father about the importance of giving back.

On Thursday at Fort Bragg, it wasn't a reunion for parents and their children but an introduction to another kind of hero.

"Well he is a star on TV, you have to count that," said 10-year-old Sadrean Watts. "I love the Panthers, he's a Panthers player. If he was a Cowboys player I would not be here."

Watts had no fear asking her mom to sign her up for Christian McCaffrey's football camp.

"So, my mom found it on her phone and I was just like no way, Christian McCaffrey is going to be there," Watts said. "I was just like I have to go because I mean not a lot of kids get this opportunity."

"We've got boys out here, we have girls," McCaffrey said. "We have people from every single age. It means a lot. Football is a game for everyone."

For McCaffrey the sacrifice isn't hosting a football camp; instead, he recognizes the sacrifice comes from these families.

"A lot of these kids don't see their fathers or mothers for huge amounts of times and that takes a toll on them," he said. "For me, you just really learn to appreciate the sacrifices they make, freedom isn't free and you really realize that when you step onto a base like this and it makes you want to do whatever you can."

Children of current service members, retirees and civilian employees went through drills and learned techniques from the Panthers running back.

"I like trying to catch the ball," Watts said. "I usually practice on catching the ball because I'm kind of scared that it's gonna hit me."

"For one, it's bragging rights, right," said Ashly De Jesus, Sadrean's mother. "These kids are so pumped. I know my daughter; she's been waiting so long to get out here and meet Christian McCaffrey and run wild and run some of this energy off. these kids are loving it."

"These are the heroes of our world without them we can't have football," McCaffrey said. "It means a lot to me I definitely get extremely excited to get out here."
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