As senior citizens at the Vintage Senior Center in East Liberty got ready for their regular exercise class on Tuesday, they could sense something special was about to happen.
But they had no idea how special a morning it was going to be until Steelers President Art Rooney II, along with Kelvin Beachum, Chris Carter, DaMon Cromartie-Smith, Cam Heyward and Maurkice Pouncey joined them for the class.
"It was absolutely wonderful to see them come and join us," said Emma Dalton, a regular at the center. "It motivated us. It's great to be out here exercising, especially with them. It's better than sitting in a chair. I like to do this, I like to walk and be active."
The visit was a part of the United Way of Allegheny County's "Month of Living Generously," a kickoff to their annual campaign that also includes "Days of Caring."
"This is such a wonderful activity the Steelers are so generous to do for us," said Christy Stuber, the Director of Volunteer Initiatives for the United Way. "We are so fortunate to have such a strong relationship with the Steelers. We do great work in the community, but it's only through partnerships like the one with the Steelers that we can get the word out of what we do. The generosity of the Steelers with their time and energy is invaluable to us."
The United Way encourages exercise at all ages, but in particular in the senior citizen community as preventative medicine.
"It's important that people exercise at any age," said Rooney. "Our seniors, helping them stay active and encouraging them to stay active is important. It's always fun to see the reaction to the players in their class.
"The seniors in this community are tremendous Steelers fans. To be out here in one of their centers, come to their place, is a lot of fun."
The class began with warm-ups, with the players doing dance steps they admit they haven't done in years.
"It's great to be out here with these seniors," said Heyward. "Some of this stuff we haven't done since we were kids. It's not fluid for us. They still have it going on. They have more rhythm than us. I am not the best dancer. I have dancer legs, but I can't say I put them to good use."
It didn't take long for the players to work up a sweat, as the active seniors aren't shy when it comes to a good workout.
"This was awesome. It truly was," said Pouncey. "It's crazy how active they are. I worked up a sweat. I didn't know we were going to get work like that today. It's awesome."
The seniors really got pumped up when they were able to work Terrible Towels into the activities, letting them show the players how much they love and appreciate them.
"It's an awesome experience to have the Steelers here," said Tom Sturgill, the director of the Vintage Senior Center. "Our seniors have been lifelong fans. The United Way and the Steelers are such great supporters of this community. We are excited to support them this season. Like the Steelers, Vintage is about health and wellness and we're about active aging here. Seniors need to remain strong for a lifetime so they can be strong just like the Pittsburgh Steelers."