Eagles' Dorenbos giving back to city kids

DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jon Dorenbos has had personal tragedy in his life, and now is reaching out to help others.
DAVID MAIALETTI / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jon Dorenbos has had personal tragedy in his life, and now is reaching out to help others.
Posted: August 15, 2014

WITH A keen sense of appreciation cloaked in self-deprecating humor, Eagles long-snapper Jon Dorenbos recently took stock of what he's come to appreciate most about his NFL career, which is entering its 12th season.

"I never thought I'd play more than a year," Dorenbos said recently at training camp, inside the NovaCare Complex. "This is year 12, which is sick, it's just sick.

"I look at it as there's 53 guys on the team, but I really look at it as there's 52 and then me, because these guys are unbelievable athletes and I'm kind of the short, pudgy, white guy that's not very fast and is just hanging on, you know? So it's cool to be a part of that, it's cool to associate with guys from different parts of the country . . . It's just unbelievable what people have overcome to get here."

Dorenbos, 34, has - with help - overcome obstacles of his own, which is why, when fans voted him one of three captains of the USA Football All-Fundamentals Team (along with Denver quarterback Peyton Manning and Buffalo defensive tackle Kyle Williams), he wanted to give back to a local high school in Philadelphia.

At the end of July, Dorenbos donated 17 new helmets to the Central High football team, which interestingly has a senior lineman with a similarly philanthropic thirst. The Lancers were also hosted by the Eagles that day and spent time with the players.

"It was just cool to talk to them," said Dorenbos, an Eagle since 2006. "And I just told them that there's going to be a time in your life when you can help people whether you know them or not, and it's the cool thing to do, the right thing to do."

In 1992, when Dorenbos was 12 and living with his family in suburban Seattle, his mother, Kathy, was killed by his father, Alan. His father was convicted of second-degree murder and served more than 13 years in prison. Dorenbos was adopted and raised by an aunt and uncle, Susan and Steve Hindman, in Garden Grove, Calif.

Later in life, Dorenbos became a professional magician after studying the trade at 13 helped him cope with the tragedy. And although he isn't affiliated with a specific organization, Dorenbos said he is always willing to share his story to help anyone dealing with similar hardships.

"To me, I've always tried to think of it as the best way to say thank you to those who helped you is to help others, and then the world is a much better place," Dorenbos said. "It is cliché, I get it, but it really is [true], so to teach kindness and to teach that it's cool to do stuff like that . . . and also to show that you don't have to know people to help them."

Central's Rob Luckain-Rowl doesn't necessarily need a reminder - the proof is stamped on his passport - with possibly more stamps to follow. From June 29 to July 18, the Mount Airy resident went to the Dominican Republic on a community service trip with Summer Search, a national nonprofit that helps low-income students get into and finish college.

"I come from an immigrant family," Luckain-Rowl said. "All my family is from Jamaica. With that background, I want to go and help people from the Caribbean because that's where I'm from. And being down there was a really moving experience."

The 5-8, 200-pound lineman said he passed out food to needy families and also helped build a recreation center and swing set for local children.

A 3.94 GPA student with eyes on political science or mathematics in college, Luckain-Rowl might have also found another calling.

"I know I might not be the most fortunate person in the world, but I'm still better off than a lot of people," he said. "Hopefully, later in life, I want to learn [the language] and go back down there and volunteer so I can help more. That's something that I'm thinking about later, like being in the Peace Corps, because now I just see that you can go throughout the world and help people . . . "

Central head coach Rich Drayton said Luckain-Rowl has an excellent chance to start this season, if he can stay healthy. Thanks to Dorenbos, he'll have a fresh new lid to help.

"It just shows that you can always help somebody out," Luckain-Rowl said with a smile. "And, it's nice to have new gear, new helmets. That's always nice. You come out and if you look good, you play good. So I think it's helping us out a little more than he even realizes."

On Twitter: @AceCarterDN

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