DOLPHINS

Miami Dolphins rookies begin community engagement, help military veteran beautify home

 
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abeasley@MiamiHerald.com

If the Dolphins’ rookies can move the ball as well as they move a boat, Dennis Hickey picked a darn good draft class.

It took 14 of those first-year players working in concert to get Roger Carter’s old motorboat into a dumpster Wednesday afternoon — an early indication that teamwork won’t be an issue with this group.

“Can’t let it be like the Titanic,” one of those brand new Dolphins quipped.

So far, the sailing has been smooth. Just a few days on the job, these young players have already fulfilled a major occupational requirement: community engagement.

On Wednesday, they were in Fort Lauderdale, beautifying Carter’s home of more than three decades.

Working in conjunction with the nonprofit Rebuilding Together, they pulled weeds, laid mulch, cleared debris and, yes, moved an old sport boat.

“Hallelujah!” shouted Carter, who’s also a minister. “Frankly I want to tell you I’m overwhelmed, overjoyed, because things are good and getting better all the time.”

Carter, who is disabled, is an Air Force veteran. During the Vietnam War, he worked on a missile maintenance team. Now in his golden years, he walks with a cane.

In short, he’s exactly the type of person Rebuilding Together seeks out to help. Dolphins players, breaking up into groups of four or five, handled the landscaping; trained professionals will work on his home’s interior.

“Bought this as a fix-up, and I’ve been fixing it up ever since,” Carter joked. “I don’t know how to act or react, but I know one thing: If I could jump, I’d be doing somersaults about now.”

Carter couldn’t have asked for a better volunteer than first-round pick Ja’Wuan James. At 6-6, James is tall enough to reach the highest spots. And he helped build houses while in college with Habitat for Humanity.

“Anytime you can give back to people in need, it’s a good feeling,” James said.

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