Northside football legend gives back

Published 11:48 am Monday, March 16, 2015

BELHAVEN — With NFL free agency looming, former Oakland Raider, Super Bowl champion and Northside standout C.J. Wilson isn’t sure which football town will welcome his talents this year, but that’s not stopping him from coming back to where it all began.

“I’ve been in the NFL a while now and I’ve been thinking about what I want to do to give back to the community,” he said. “From now on, I want to give back every year.”

And he’s not wasting any time. On Saturday, April 4, Wilson and his hometown of Belhaven are hosting the first ever Beaufort County Easter Fest, an event meant to bring the community together for a fun-filled afternoon of games and prizes, while also meeting some local and professional football legends. All proceeds will go towards the C.J. Wilson Foundation, Inc., to give back to the community and help local children see the importance of education.

Along with Wilson, the event will allow kids the opportunity to meet Willie Smith, a former North Johnston Panther and, like Wilson, East Carolina Pirate currently playing on the San Diego Chargers; Terrence Copper, a former Pam Pack and Kansas City Chiefs receiver; Vonta Leach, a former Pirate and All-Pro Ravens fullback; and recent ECU graduates Justin Hardy and Shane Carden.

Fans will be allowed full access to the athletes, who will be available for autograph signings.

C.J.’s brother Daniel, another organizer for the event, is hoping Easter Fest can not only bring Beaufort County together for one special day.

The event will be held at the recreation fields and the park located adjacent to the Boys and Girls Club in Belhaven from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is free of charge. For children under 17, food will also be provided for free.

On top of the athletes signing autographs and taking pictures, Easter Fest will feature a cornhole tournament, community kickball game, an Easter egg hunt and a raffle with prizes ranging from $500 in cash to a flat screen television. Bounce Houses will also be provided for the kids and, in the spirit of the holiday, gospel music will go on throughout the day.

“We want to keep Easter the theme,” C.J. Wilson said. “We want to have a great time coming together as a community and having a great time for the young people.”