SALISBURY, NC (WBTV) - Former West Rowan Falcon and current Cleveland Browns football player Chris Smith has stepped up in a big way to help his home community.
On Thursday, Smith presented $40,000 to be divided between all of the high schools in Rowan County.
"In the NFL, it's bittersweet," Smith said. "People and teammates come and go, but you never forget your high school and the people who helped raise you. That's why I did this. I'm here to help, man. I've been blessed, growing up in athletics, and I just wanted to do this for the next group of athletes."
The donation consists of $10,000 for West Rowan, and $5000 each for East Rowan, Carson, Henderson, North Rowan, Salisbury High, and South Rowan.
The money will go to athletics expense accounts at each school, and half of the $10,000 given to WRHS for the football program.
An additional $5,000 went to the new Essie Mae Kiser Foxx K-4 charter school on North Long Street that opens in August.
Smith also pledged his support to help kick off the Rowan Helping Ministries 'Why Give In July' campaign by challenging friends and fellow NFL stars, Javon Hargrave and Keion Adams, to see which hometown hero can raise the most money to help those struggling in this community.
Smith has agreed to match all of his voters contributions. He wants to bring this town together and help the less fortunate.