The Patriots are holding their annual Kickoff Gala tonight, and Vince Wilfork is this year’s recipient of the Ron Burton Community Service Award.
Not only does the nose tackle actively participate in team events throughout the year, Wilfork’s foundation also holds an annual draft-day fundraiser for diabetes research in honor of his father, who died from complications of the disease in 2002. His mother died just months later.
Wilfork’s acceptance speech was emotional, as he choked back tears discussing his parents. He thanked his Patriots teammates for their support of his draft-day event, saying “It wouldn’t be possible without you guys.”
His teammates “are my second family. My kids, my wife, the New England Patriots — that’s all I have.”
Wilfork carries on a proud tradition among the team’s linemen: of the eight winners, five are men from the trenches.
Previous winners of the Ron Burton Award: Joe Andruzzi (2003), Troy Brown (2004), Matt Light (2005), Jarvis Green (2006), Ty Warren (2007), Larry Izzo (2008), and Kevin Faulk (2009).