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Falcons’ C.J. Goodwin Follows His Father

PEGA will help mentor youth

Atlanta Falcons cornerback C.J. Goodwin signs autographs and poses for pictures with fans at Quaker Steak and Lube. Photo by Shawn Rine

WHEELING — From a young age, C.J. Goodwin learned what it means to make a difference in the community. He was watching closely as his father, the late Perry Galloway Jr., a former president of the Wheeling NAACP and helping hand to many in need, showed the way.

Goodwin, who earlier this month played defensive back in the Super Bowl for the Atlanta Falcons, was back in the Ohio Valley on Wednesday at Quaker Steak and Lube at The Highlands. Goodwin was taking pictures and signing autographs, but most importantly, he was there to promote his new foundation, PEGA.

”My foundation is predicated on getting mentors for the kids that need it,” Goodwin said.

”My dad was a staple in the community and always mentored us.

”A lot of kids don’t have that structure that I had growing up and I recognize that. I want to help as much as I can.

“Whoever it is that has that need, if you have the ability to fill that need you should do it.”

Even though Goodwin spends roughly six months of the year in Georgia these days, it made more sense to launch PEGA at home. He wants to have the same type of effect on children in Wheeling that his father did.

”We actually got mad sometimes because he spent more time in the community than he did with us,” Goodwin said of he and his siblings. ”But I understand now.

”This is the community that raised me. I want to do whatever I can to help this community here.”

The line was long and the smiles were many — both from fans and Goodwin himself. Quaker Steak agreed to donate a portion of its profits from 5-9 p.m. on Wednesday to PEGA. The Linsly School product was humbled by the turnout.

”I knew I had all the love and support before I played football and played in the Super Bowl, but seeing people here coming out and donating their money? It means the world,” Goodwin said. ”It’s not so much the signing autographs. It’s the fact they’re coming here spending their money.

”I hold this more in my heart than playing in the Super Bowl and being surrounded by all those media guys and whatnot. These people know me and are willing to give their money to my foundation because they want a better community.

”They believe I can help out here.”

Goodwin said he doesn’t feel any pressure to be someone he’s not. In fact, part of his message to those who attended was that he is just a regular guy.

”I grew up in East Wheeling back when it wasn’t the best place to live and I’ve seen things go on,” he said. ”These kids can be right where I’m at with hard work and dedication.

”I genuinely want to help. I was going to do this any way, but now I have the platform and a lot of people are watching. I am glad I have the opportunity to do it.”

More community-based efforts are on the horizon for Goodwin, who said he began his offseason training regimen also on Wednesday.

”The next thing is speaking to some schools,” he said. ”I preach take advantage of the opportunities that you have, and I preach that to little kids.

”Don’t be afraid to take risks. Go after what you want in life.

”It’s the things that I have learned that helped me get to this point in life. And I am not done, man. This is just the beginning.”

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