I would like to start by saying how very surprised and overwhelmed we are not only to be nominated but as well to be accepted for this scholarship. We so humbly and graciously appreciate it.
Our experience and knowledge of this great Raiders Organization came to us through another Raiders player that lived in our town at the time. This peewee and then bantam player took Jack “under his wing” and mentored and coached him for years. Showing us first-hand what it meant to be a Raider.
So 2 1/2 years ago when we finally moved into Edmonton is was an obvious choice for Jack to try out for the Raiders team. We had no idea what a life changing experience it would be.
All the athletic and personal growth that this football team has brought Jack plus all the multiple opportunities to play with so many different players and outstanding, accomplished coaches is a blessing that we will be forever grateful for. This is Jack’s 7th year of playing football and never has he grown as much as he has in the past 3 years since becoming a Raider.
Jack’s dad, Kent Walls, was one of these outstanding minor football coaches from 1991-2001. He had the awesome opportunity to be part of so many coaching teams that help develop some of the pro athletes that we see today. You could say that Football is in Jack’s blood.
Kent became quite sick over the past several years and was able to physically do less and less. Knowing that his time was coming soon, Kent pushed himself for ‘his boy’ and tried coaching once more this time for the Raiders in their 2017 season. Even though he couldn’t step much on the field due to his ailments, most days he was at least able to coach from the side, making notes etc. It almost tore him apart not being able to get out there, to not be able to throw the ball around more.
Kent had so much pride for his son and the strong player he was becoming. How Jack wasn’t just a team player but with the Raiders he was part of a family. To Kent, family was everything and he got much peace knowing that the Raider family would be there for Jack and was as for myself after he was gone. You see, it’s just not the players who got each other’s back but it’s the parents too. You don’t see this in any other sport and rarely ever see it in any other team. The Philosophy of, Never leave someone behind, is not only on the field but it has been so overwhelming shown to us off the field as Kent passed away on April 6 2019. Thus Jack is dedicating this 2019 Football season to his dad.
God Bless each and every one of you Raiders Family. Thank you for making a very tough and trying situation into one of peace and full of love. We humbly thank you from the bottom of our hearts. To the extra special person who nominated Jack and to the board members for accepting it,.... to some it may be just a registration fee but to us it’s a game changer. Thank you.
From Jeanine Wegner (mother of Jackson Walls).