Military families meet Patriots players, enjoy movie night at Gillette

Dozens of military families met Patriots players and enjoyed dinner and a movie at Gillette Stadium Friday night.

The Patriots Foundation teamed up with Cross Insurance to bring more than 100 kids and adults from Joint Base Cape Cod to Foxborough.

Linebacker Josh Uche, tight end Dalton Keene and offensive lineman Justin Herron signed footballs and snapped pictures with young fans eager to meet players they look up to.

“Their parents are really the real heroes. And I mean, just being able to come out and support the Patriots Nation out here. It’s just a great environment,” Uche said. “Look at the smiles on the kids’ faces and the interactions. This is really what football’s about, is the fans. Without the fans we don’t have anything.”

April is “Month of the Military Child,” a way to recognize the sacrifice children of service members also bear.

“I have some military ties in my family,” said Keene. “So, I’m just happy to be here to support. And I think this is a really great event for all these families.”

John Gross, a Coast Guardsman whose son J.J. was all smiles as he high-fived Keene, was emotional reflecting on the constant support from the community for military families.

“What the community does for the military and what we do for the country,” Gross said, “they know the sacrifice we do and our spouses and the kids. This is nice that we can just relax with professional athletes that we follow all the time.”

Josh Kraft, president of Kraft Family Philanthropies, welcomed the families before new Disney film “An Extremely Goofy Movie” played.

“This is so special because these are the folks that provide us the opportunity to live the lives we live and just to pay it back a little bit,” Kraft said. “We can show gratitude for all they do for all of us.”

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