The Patriots have announced Matthew Slater as this year's recipient of the team's Ron Burton Community Service Award during their annual Patriots Premiere (formerly known as the Kickoff Gala).
"He's always generous with his time, he's great with kids, he continually participates in Community Tuesday initiatives ... he was a regular ambassador for our Celebrate Volunteerism campaign," said team owner Robert Kraft. "We knew the day we drafted him he was going to be special. He has played on offense, defense, and now is two-time captain of our special teams."
Slater, a fifth-round pick in 2008, said the honor was totally unexpected.
"I'm very humbled and very thankful to the Kraft family and our organization for taking a chance on a kid that had a tough career at best there and helped fulfill a childhood dream of playing in the NFL," Slater said. "It's truly an honor."
Slater also thanked his teammates and his parents, Annie and Jackie, a Hall of Fame offensive lineman, for teaching him from a young age that to whom much is given, much is required.
"I appreciate my parents instilling that in me," he said. "I hope to continue to represent this community, my teammates and this organization in a positive way."
Slater is the 11th recipient of the Burton Award, following Zoltan Mesko (2012), Jerod Mayo ('11), Vince Wilfork ('10), Kevin Faulk ('09), Larry Izzo ('08), Ty Warren ('07), Jarvis Green ('06), Matt Light ('05), Troy Brown ('04) and Joe Andruzzi ('03).