Woodley was joined by several of his Steelers’ teammates, as well as Coach Mike Tomlin, at the Fairmont Pittsburgh Hotel for the event which included dinner, a fashion show and live and silent auction.
“It’s great to have the coaches and my teammates supporting this event,” said Woodley. “Many of them have come from tough neighborhoods or lost someone through violence so for them to come out and support this cause is special.”
The Gala benefited the P.A.C.T. (Prevent Another Crime Today) Initiative, something Woodley became passionate about after talking to parents who lost kids to violence.
“It’s a small organization that hasn’t gotten enough recognition,” said Woodley. “I have had the opportunity to meet mothers who have lost young sons due to violence. That is something that is going on everywhere. That is one of the highlights of the night, helping these people.
“There is so much violence going on and a lot of us have lost loved ones due to it. Sometimes you think when people are shot and killed it’s gang related, but it isn’t always. It can simply be the environment you are growing up in. You are forced to live in that. You can’t walk down a street every day without someone thinking you are in a gang or violence just happening. Everyone doesn’t always have to experience that, but it really is spreading.”
The LaMarr Woodley Foundation teamed up with P.A.C.T. last year after Woodley served as a spokesman for their billboard campaign that featured the faces of victims of unsolved murders, encouraging tipsters. The P.A.C.T. initiative is to assist in solving the murders of young people in the Pittsburgh area.
“You simply can walk down the wrong street, be coming from school, and you can be shot because of mistaken identity,” said Woodley. “And it’s the family losing the loved ones that never has the opportunity to have closure. For some of these parents it’s been 10 years and the crime hasn’t been solved. You can only imagine what they went through.
“Hearing their stories is touching and I think everyone needs to hear it.”