Saturday, October 25, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;40.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2014-10-25 06:10:38
Sunday, June 22, 2014

‘Nashua’s favorite son’ Reyes runs second family field day

NASHUA – Nashua’s Kendall Reyes didn’t suddenly become the gregarious, gracious young man he is when he achieved his goal of being a starting defensive end in the National Football League.

“We’ve been friends since seventh grade. He was a great kid then, and he’s a great guy now,” said 25-year-old Carlos Perez, one of a small army of volunteers who turned out to help coordinate Saturday’s second annual Reyes Family Field Day in Nashua. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

NASHUA – Nashua’s Kendall Reyes didn’t suddenly become the gregarious, gracious young man he is when he achieved his goal of being a starting defensive end in the National Football League.

“We’ve been friends since seventh grade. He was a great kid then, and he’s a great guy now,” said 25-year-old Carlos Perez, one of a small army of volunteers who turned out to help coordinate Saturday’s second annual Reyes Family Field Day in Nashua.

That’s actually the R.E.Y.E.S. Family Field Day, an acronym that describes the mission of Reyes, a Nashua High School North graduate who also starred at University of Connecticut before the San Diego Chargers selected him in the second round of the 2012 NFL draft.

It stands for “Re-Engaging Youth through Exercise and Sport,”
precisely what the
rock-solid, 6 foot, 4 inch 300-pounder had in mind for kids growing up in the city from which he hails.

“I wanted to do something for my hometown,” Reyes said when he launched the inaugural field day last June at Stellos Stadium. “I want everyone in the area to just go out and have a fun day.”

And they did.

For several hours Saturday, kids from little tykes to young teens took part in as many of the 16 different activities as they could, racing from one to the other event set up on the Nashua West Little League fields next to the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua.

The club, along with Nashua Police Athletic League, is the benefactor of Reyes’s brainchild, which he said he came up with after tossing around several ideas.

“He’s just a special person in so many ways,” Boys & Girls Club Executive Director Norm Bouthilette said as he watched Reyes, wearing a big grin and surrounded by scores of kids, call out the names of prize winners in his booming voice.

“This is a Nashua kid, who went through Nashua schools, taking time to come back home to help kids,” Bouthilette said, calling Reyes “a great advocate” for after-school programs and organizations like the club and Nashua PAL.

Nashua resident Kate Pinet, who said she just recently signed up her young son for the Boys & Girls Club, met and befriended Reyes when the two were sophomores at Nashua High North.

“Kendall’s just a really nice guy,” said Pinet, who, like Perez, came to the field day to volunteer. “It’s so great to see him maintain his Nashua roots.

“He’s Nashua’s favorite son,” she said.

Most of the estimated 200-plus kids, and even some adults, wore white “R.E.Y.E.S. Family Field Day” T-shirts that Reyes had made up for the event. He and his family – many members of which, including his mother and grandmother, were present Saturday – fund the event, so all proceeds from the concessions, along with other donations, go to the two agencies.

Boys & Girls Club marketing and special events director Bridget Cooley said Reyes is a former club member who has remained a huge supporter.

He was inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame two years ago at the annual Youth of the Year celebration.

Reyes’ success on the gridiron, which propelled him from Nashua to Connecticut to San Diego before his 23rd birthday, makes an impression on today’s club members, Cooley said.

“It’s great for them to see that someone who grew up through the club can be successful and give back,” she said.

As for Pinet and Perez, there’s nowhere they’d rather be than helping out at their friend’s field day.

“We were there last year … we’ll probably volunteer every year he does this,” Perez said. “It’s the least we can do.”

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or dshalhoup@nashuatelegraph.com. Also, follow Shalhoup on Twitter (@Telegraph_DeanS).