Over the past few years, I have been fortunate enough to get the opportunity to spend some time at Army and Air Force bases and with the fine service men and women around the country. It’s such an amazing experience to get a first-hand look at a “day in the life” of the people who protect our country. I wanted to take some time to say thank you to everyone involved in the process and give some recaps on how the visits went.
Fort Jackson Visit (Army)
We were able to participate with newly recruited soldiers at Victory Tower. At Victory Tower, soldiers learn to conquer their fears by climbing up a massive wooden ladder (75 feet) and repelling down the other side. We learned how to commando crawl on a tight rope as well as climb down a cargo net. We spent lunch at the on-base restaurant and hang out with several of our nations heroes. We signed some Panthers gear for them, but mostly just hung out and talked about anything with them. We also we able to make it out to the weapons range and fire tracer rounds through a rocket launcher as well as a grenade launcher. All in all, very cool visit!
Shaw Air Force Base
We were able to meet and greet several of our United States Airmen. We saw all of the various fighter jets as well as many of the bombers in their hangars. We met the Bomb-Squad, or group of guys that load bombs and missiles onto jets and bomber planes. They told us that some of the bombs were weighing in the several hundred to the thousand pound range. Props to those guys that can lift them! We also got to visit the F-15/F-16 fighter jet engine test facility. Here, they fired up an F-15 engine to full afterburner to make sure it was fit to be installed on our Airmen’s planes. Loved getting to see the jets take off from the runway too!
Seymour-Johnson Air Force Base
One the coolest things I have ever done! I was able to fly up in an air-refueling tanker and watch from the Boom-Nest (a glass bottom floor that bubbles down from the refueling plane) as we refueled four F-15 fighter jets… mid flight! The precision they had in lining the planes up and lowering that fuel line was outstanding, it reminded me a lot about how us NFL players rely and count on each other when we play. As each fighter jet filled up, the pilot and co-pilot would wave at us and take off, and being only about 30 feet away we could see them crystal clear. It was truly amazing.
We also got to check out and test fire several weapons at their indoor situational simulator… Of course, I went straight for the .50 caliber “Ma Duece” M2 machine gun! I also got to fire standard issue M4 carbines through the simulators. We had to make tough calls in various situations presented to us within that simulator. We learned that life and death can be only one hesitation away.
We also got to watch, and then meet the members of our U.S.A.F. Thunderbirds! These guys do the plane shows in their jets and fly within feet of each others planes. These guys were some cool cats too! They’re stationed in Las Vegas, and as far as I know, we have an open invite to come visit and fly with them! Definitely going to have to make plans for a Vegas Trip now!
As the day winded down, we did a meet and greet as well as signed Panthers memorabilia for the families and active service men and women of our great U.S. Air Force. Great group of people showed up, and we even helped make a sign with a wife whose husband was currently deployed! It felt great to give back to them, and I felt honored they would invite to spend time with them.
Once again, just want to say a big THANK YOU to all service men and women across our country. As you can see these base visits are an opportunity of a lifetime and I can’t wait for my next opportunity.
Until next time.
For the fourth summer, Brian Folkerts, C, Panthers, will take a week of his three-week break from the NFL to share his football skills and knowledge with the Colorado Springs youth at the 10th annual Pro Football Camp, July 14-16. Folkerts will be entering his third season with the Carolina Panthers as the starting Center on the offensive line.
Folkerts’ heart for kids and willingness to give back to the community is what makes him one of the kids’ favorite NFL athletes at the Pro Football Camp. His excitement to share his story and expertise with the youth is one of many reasons that he has a big impact at Pro Football Camp.
Follow Brian on Twitter and on Instagram. To learn more about Pro Football Camp, visit www.profootballcamp.com or call 719-266-9308. Also, like Pro Football Camp on Facebook and follow Pro Football Camp on Twitter and on Instagram.Read More
Later in July, I will be heading out to Colorado Springs for the Pro Football Camp that’s put on by the great people at 360 Sports (my agency). I can’t wait to get there; this will be my 4th year that I will be coaching at this camp. The Pro Football Camp is designed to encourage and inspire youth to develop themselves into the very best athletes and people they can be.
It’s fun to get out there with a bunch of other NFL guys to give back to the community and help inspire young kids to become the best they can be on the field and more importantly, off the field.
This year’s camp is on July 14-16 at Vista Ridge High School in Colorado Springs. Each day during the camp, we coach drills to help kids improve their skills, speed and agility. We also have a daily “off the field” session to help teach character qualities that kids can use in everyday situations. I think these sessions are what I enjoy most about the camp. Of course it’s great to help these young athletes become better football players, but I really enjoy being able to instill attributes to help these young people mature…the right way.
I’ll post more photos from the camp when it happens, but in the meantime you can learn more about Pro Football Camp here here.
10159 Hillgrass Circle
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
Office: 719-266-9124Read More
Well, the new season has officially started. OTAs started last week and man it felt good to get back out there! Going into my forth year in the NFL, I feel a lot more comfortable with the structure of the offseason and how to get my body right for the playing conditions.
We went to the playoffs last year and were able to make a little bit of noise. But, in order to get back to that level and even take the next step, we know how much effort and commitment is going to be needed. We are ready for the challenges mentally and physically.
We’re currently finishing up our last week of OTA’s and then we will wrap up with our team mini-camp. OTA’s were a great opportunity to refresh ourselves with the playbook and get back into competition mode. Just a small preview for training camp in August!
Thanks for following along, think my next blog will be community service related…Been going to some really cool events with the USO this offseason!
As part of Military Appreciation Month, Brian Folkerts, C, Panthers, and other Panther team members spent time out at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C. Along with Folkerts, taking part of the event were Fozzy Whittaker, RB, Nate Chandler, OL, Mario Addison, DE, and Graham Gano, K.
“They’re definitely our heroes,” Folkerts said. “To get to experience what they do on a daily basis is incredible.”
The players were able to thank the men and women for their service while getting a first-hand look at a typical day in the Air Force. They were able to take part in a flight simulator on a mission trying to refuel a jet and then tag along for the actual thing.
Unloading the .50 cal Ma Deuce on the sim range at Seymour Johnson AFB! Awesome day with our service men/women & USO pic.twitter.com/x4Hg34ZZxs
— Brian Folkerts (@BrianFolkerts) May 16, 2015
— Brian Folkerts (@BrianFolkerts) May 16, 2015
A video posted by Wings Over Wayne (@wingsoverwayne) on
Exclusive rights free agent Brian Folkerts, C, Panthers, agreed to re-sign with the Carolina Panthers to a one-year contract.
Folkerts played in all 16 regular season games for the Panthers in 2014, seeing action as a reserve center and guard, in goal-line packages and on special teams. He also played in two post-season games for the Panthers. For his career, Folkerts has played in 26 regular season games and three post-season games, all with Carolina (2013-14).
For more on Folkerts and the moves made by the Carolina Panthers, click here.Read More
On February 25, 2015, Brain Folkerts, C, Panthers, got his first haircut in four years to help make a donation to Wigs for Kids.
To see all of the media articles from around the country, take a look at the links below.Read More
This article was originally from Next Impulse Sports.
Offensive linemen, the “smartest” guys on the field, seldom get accolades. However, Next Impulse Sports and Athletes LTD understand that Big Guys Need Love Too. We love giving the big men some love especially when they’re supporting good causes, like Carolina Panther, Brian Folkerts.
Folkerts took a less traveled route to the NFL and played for the Washburn University Ichabods (Division 2) from 2008-2011. After starting his first two years he earned All-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association (MIAA) honors, but it wasn’t until his junior year that he garnered a first team selection. It was during that year when his coaches first told him that he had a real shot at playing in the NFL. That year he thought seriously about his NFL future and that’s when he decided to make a promise to himself, one that takes commitment and serious dedication.
But the feeling of accomplishment didn’t come easy for Folkerts. He could have cut his hair two years later after signing with the New Orleans Saints in 2012 but – because he got cut during training camp – he didn’t. He moved on to the San Jose SaberCats of the Arena Football League, but he wasn’t completely satisfied playing for the 3x-Arena Bowl Champions, so the lovely locks needed to stay. Even when he signed with the Carolina Panthers on May 16 that same year, he still didn’t cut his hair.
Many football players have goals throughout their careers and each person has a different sense of what it means to “play in the NFL.” There are players who are drafted, play the whole preseason, and get cut right before the 53-man rosters are set who say that they’ve never played in the NFL. This is similar to the mindset that Folkerts has. His goal is not merely to sign with a team, but to make a team and spend a season on it. Folkerts has been in the NFL for two years and just now he finally feels like he made it. “So, to hold true to the contract that I made with myself, I decided to cut my hair,” he said.
Craig Domann, Folkerts’ NFL Agent, is really proud of the volunteerism shown by his client and said, “not every caveman has the heart for kids that Folkerts has and is willing to cut their hair for such a great cause. What a privilege for him to have a positive impact on a young person’s life at a time they are facing this adversity.”
Folkerts is a funny, community-oriented person so when he made the decision to cut his hair he wanted to help people. “I’ve always thought that if you have an opportunity to do good, you should,” said Folkerts. This mindset has undoubtedly followed him from a youth-athlete, continued through his time as an Ichabod, and stuck with him during his time as a professional football player. He and his teammate, Brenton Berson (a Panthers wide receiver with Fabio-esque hair), put their heads together and decided to trim their locks together for a good cause. Today, Folkert and Bersin are pairing up to donate more than 24 inches of hair for Wigs For Kids, a nonprofit that has been serving children suffering from hair loss since 1981. Folkert is no stranger to helping the youth and said, “given that I love kids and helping kids, I thought I should donate my hair so that a kid who is going through chemotherapy or radiation therapy – a kid who needs a wig could use my hair.”Read More