KINGSTON — Former Seahawks safety, and newly-minted Pro Football Hall of Famer, Kenny Easley has always had a passion for helping others.
For the past 17 years now, Easley has been involved with the Greater Trinity Academy in Everett, a school that provides pre-school education to children from low-income backgrounds, who could not otherwise afford to start their child’s education early.
“We provide a service that a lot of parents just can’t afford,” said Easley. “By doing that, we educate these kids, we feed and transport them, we do home work with them, and we have after school care. It’s a full-service operation, and for the parents that can’t afford it, it’s a godsend, it’s a blessing.”
And that head start in a good educational program is crucial in helping the students overcome their economically disadvantaged background.
“You see at an early age how the mind of a child such develops in such a way that they really learn with enthusiasm and learn with excitement,” said Dr. Paul Stoot, executive director of Greater Trinity Academy. “They move beyond the statistics of their peers that are maybe still in their same tougher environment.”
But as a non-profit, Greater Trinity Academy is dependent upon sponsors and donations to ensure it can continue to keep its doors open.
Seven years ago, Easley began the Greater Trinity Academy Celebrity Golf Classic, which has grown into an important fundraising event. For the past few years, it has been held locally in Kitsap County at the White Horse Golf Club in Kingston, which is operated by Port Madison Enterprises, an agency of the Suquamish Tribe.
On July 28, The golf tournament has attracted a litany of former professional athletes, many of whom played for the Seahawks or otherwise have ties to the Pacific Northwest.
This year’s roster included, but was not limited to, Lee Elder (retired professional golfer), Efren Herrera (retired Seahawks kicker), Michael Holton (retired Portland Trail Blazers guard), Ed “Too Tall” Jones (retired Dallas Cowboys defensive end), Steve Largent (retired Seahawks wide receiver), Mark Lee (retired Green Bay Packers cornerback), Ronnie Lott (retired San Francisco 49ers cornerback and safety), Terry Metcalf (retired St. Louis Cardinals running back), Randall Morris (retired Seahawks running back), Paul Moyer (retired Seahawks safety), Joe Tafoya (retired Seahawks defensive end), Terry Taylor (retired Seahawks cornerback), Slick Watts (retired Supersonics guard) and Jim Zorn (retired Seahawks quarterback). Also appearing at the event was Richard Roundtree, an actor best known for the movie “Shaft.”
The large turnout of well-known athletes and celebrities year after year speaks not only to the fun and competitive nature of the event on the part of the players, but also to the level of friendship and respect Easley enjoys with them.
“I was taught to always pay it forward, and that’s what I do,” said Morris. “I have nothing but love and respect for Kenny Easley. As you can see today, a lot of people do. I’m just glad to help in any way, because if I were to call him for help, he would be there for me, just like all the other celebrities that are out here.”
On July 28, the seventh iteration of the event was held under a clear, sunny sky on a 75-degree day, a perfect summer afternoon in the Northwest. Golfers and celebrities formed their groups, found their carts and set off for the shotgun start, and children from Greater Trinity Academy had the opportunity to meet with the athletes as they made their way from hole to hole.
“It’s just a humbling experience that we can have them at an event like this,” said Stoot.
For the players, Moyer noted this particular event is more fun because it is smaller and more intimate in nature while still allowing for plenty of money to be raised for the good cause.
“It’s one of those events you always put on your calendar,” said Moyer, who has participated in the tournament multiple times. “It’s always a fun time.”