EAST COUNTY— A decade ago, when NFL Hall of Fame No. 1 Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan Keith Kunzig joined his local sheriff on an all-night ride-along, he thought he was doing it for fun.
“I thought the sheriff would turn on his siren, and we’d be driving around to the sound of ‘whoop, whoop,’ Kunzig said.
Instead, Kunzig witnessed officers arrest five children for carrying or dealing drugs within a 12-hour period. The harsh reality pushed the Bucs fan into public service.
“It really showed me how bad drugs are out there,” said Kunzig, also affectionately known as “Big Nasty” in the Buccaneer fan world.
Kunzig now gives speeches against drugs to schools in the Tampa Bay area.
“Kids seemed to have had trouble walking away (from drugs),” he says.
Kunzig warned children about the danger of drugs in a speech Oct. 25, at Tara Elementary School.
His face was painted red and white, and he wore a silver-horned helmet, gray-and-white camouflage shorts, a Bucs jersey and a football gloves as he pounded fists with the children while shouting, “Drugs are nasty!” before he spoke to the group.
“Life is all about choices,” Kunzig said. “If I can help one kid make the right choice, that’s all that matters.”
Contact Josh Siegel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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