HOUSTON -- David Culley smiled while sharing kind words with military veterans, shaking hands as he distributed meals and encouragement and thanked them for their service.
The Houston Texans coach, whose father and uncle served in the military during the Korean War and World War II, was grateful for the moment as players, coaches and executives handed out items, including blankets and Texans gear, to veterans Monday afternoon at Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center in Houston.
“This is what it’s all about,” said Culley, who was joined by Texans running back Rex Burkhead, tight end-quarterback Jeff Driskel and wide receiver Chris Moore, the entire coaching staff, general manager Nick Caserio and executive vice president of football operations Jack Easterby and several other staff members. “We’re able to do what we do because of the service of these men and women here. It’s just exciting to be here. It feels go good to know we’re giving back. It’s a wonderful feeling.”
The visit was one day after the Texans’ 22-13 victory over the Tennessee Titans, snapping an eight-game losing streak.
“I mean, we won yesterday,” Culley quipped. “The interaction has been very good.”
The Texans handed out 200 meals Monday. They personally greeted hundreds of veterans.
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“It’s pretty cool to be able to come out and bring a smile to people’s faces who have been through a lot of heartache, who have done a lot for us,” Caserio said. “Just the joy they have on their face, it really puts everything into perspective. This is real life. People have to deal with the struggles. You see the outpouring of support.
“As players and coaches, essentially everybody in the building, it speaks to their commitment and just trying to do right by people. To be able to come out and speak to the community and do this, it’s really what our organization is all about. This is a people business. We’re all human beings. This is humanity. This is real life.”
Moore’s great grandfather served in the Air Force.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “These people have done so much and sacrificed so much. They’re no different from us, just hard working people trying to live the best life they can and we’re just trying to make this special. It’s awesome to look into their eyes and shake their hands and interact. It’s an amazing experience. It humbles you a lot.”
The Texans are preparing to face the New York Jets on Sunday at NRG Stadium. To win their first road game and second game of the season was significant for the AFC South franchise, especially over a heavily favored first-place Tennessee team.
“I think it speaks to the effort, the attitude of the players and the coaches and David’s leadership,” Caserio said. “The players have been consistent week to week. We always haven’t played as well as we had hoped or executed as well as we would’ve liked to. It’s always nice to get a win, but really got to turn the page and get ready for the Jets. Nobody’s gonna be really thinking about what happened (beating the Titans). Our focus is on the Jets.”