By: Lisa Marie Latino
As far as #HipNJ men go, New York Giants captain Zak DeOssie is the complete package!
We recently chatted with the Summit resident about his involvement with The Tom Coughlin Jay Fund, a non-profit charity whose mission is to BE THERE for families battling childhood cancer with financial, emotional and practical support. The two-time Super Bowl champion recently participated in a heart-warming hospital visit, and we got to speak with him about that day, his love for charity work and living in the Garden State!
HipNJ: Hi Zak! It’s a pleasure to speak with you and thank you for all the great memories you have given Giants fans around the tri-state area for the past decade. Let’s talk a little bit about your newest memory you have given a very special group of people.
Zak DeOssie: Thank you for the kind words. I was so honored to have spent part of my Valentine’s Day at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center to help spread some holiday cheer to children who are unfortunately dealing with cancer. It was two hours of fun, games and treats. It was great to “be there” and give these families a break from all the heavy stuff.
HipNJ: Was there a particular moment of your visit that stood out for you?
ZD: There was a three-year-old who was absolutely inconsolable at first, but it felt really great to have calmed him down enough so he could enjoy the day. Having a toddler at home, I’ve become a bit of a pro at that!
HipNJ: Talk about your overall work with the Jay Fund.
ZD: When Coach (Tom Coughlin) calls, you pick up the phone. He has shaped me into the man that I am today, and I speak for thousands of others when I say that. He’s a true coach, a true mentor, and anything he and the organization needs I am there.
HipNJ: Why is it so important to lend your celebrity to causes such as the Jay Fund?
ZD: ::laughs:: I don’t know if I consider myself a “celebrity”! But anytime you are in the public eye, it is so incredibly important to give back. I feel so blessed to be in the position I am, and I want to make sure I use my responsibility as a professional football player for great causes.
In addition to the Jay Fund, I sit on the board of America Needs You, an organization that fights for economic mobility for ambitious, first-generation college students. I also participate in the Newark Mentoring Movement golf tournament every year.
HipNJ: You are from Massachusetts but married a “Jersey Girl” and are now raising your family here. What was that transition like from New England to the Garden State?
ZD: ::laughs:: I waited until the very last second to change my driver’s license! But I started out in Hoboken and I got bit by the Jersey bug long and hard. I absolutely love it here. The people are great. The passion in the state, especially during football season, is infectious. I have totally embraced living in New Jersey!