160625-AAF Football & Cheer

Shoemaker graduate Roy Miller III of the Jacksonville Jaguars addresses participants on June 26, 2016, during the seventh annual Centex Pro Football and Cheer camp at Leo Buckley Stadium.

Jammie Blunt Jr. was waiting for his opportunity.

Growing up in Killeen, like most high school football fans, the Class of 2012 Shoemaker graduate was in awe of the talented players being produced in the area.

Whether it was Tommie Harris, Roy Miller, Brandon Joiner or Juaquin Iglesias, Blunt, who currently plays professionally in France, wanted to be just like them.

Now, he is.

In addition to being able to take his talents to the next level, playing at Southwestern Oklahoma State before turning pro, Blunt was eager to give back to the community like his childhood heroes, who helped establish the Accumulative Advantage Foundation “Kid’s Advantage” CenTex Pro Football Camp & Combine and Cheer Camp in 2010.

So, when he received an offer to serve as an instructor in the eighth annual event, almost nothing could stop him

“They only had to ask me once,” Blunt said, “and I was in the playoffs at the time.

“I said that I had one more game, and then, I’d be there. Now, here I am, and I’m ready to give back.”

With the purpose of promoting a healthy, active and positive lifestyle, the free camp runs from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. today at Leo Buckley Stadium with participants receiving instruction from at least 14 former standouts from the area.

But it is about far more than simply improving skills to Blunt.

“We’re going to be teaching them the fundamentals of life,” he said. “This is about being encouraging, trusting your path and staying on that path.

“Things can get very discouraging at times, but we’re here to show them living proof that they can make it, because we used to be on the same playgrounds they’re playing at now.”

Since its inception, the camp, which is exclusive to 8- to 17-year- olds, has grown exponentially.

In 2010, the event’s debut drew approximately 75 kids at a cost of around $70 each. By its third year in existence, attendance grew so much, it was decided to eliminate any fees.

Now, players like Blunt are eager to donate their time to the cause, according to the organization’s media director Dan Hull.

“Whether they played in the ’60s or in the 2000s,” he said, “any player I’ve ever asked has just been like, ‘No problem.’

“I have guys coming up to me and telling me that it’s their turn now, because they are just ready to give back.”

Along with the football camp, there will be a cheer camp conducted by local cheerleaders, and medical personnel will share advice concerning healthy living with parents invited to listen in.

Hull is expecting approximately 400 kids will take part, and Blunt can already understand exactly how most will feel upon witnessing the larger-than-life instructors in person.

“I remember seeing Roy Miller for the first time,” Blunt said, “and I was just like, ‘Who is this humongous guy?’ Then, right behind him was Brandon Joiner, and I was blown away.

“And they were saying the same things I’m going to be saying — just letting the kids know they can make it, and we can do it as a family.”

Contact Clay Whittington at clayw@kdhnews.com

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