Finding Purpose

Published 11:25 am Monday, July 31, 2017

WINTON – No question, Greg Scott is home.

It’s not here in the Roanoke-Chowan area, but just across the Virginia state line in Southampton County; the town of Franklin, to be exact.

Actually, in some ways he never left.

Raised near Courtland, VA, Scott played football at Southampton High, then went on to star as a defensive end at Hampton University, leading the Pirates to the 1998 MEAC conference championship.  In 2002, he was drafted by the NFL Washington Redskins (another near-Virginia connection).  He later played for the Cincinnati Bengals before heading overseas to play with the Rhein Fire in NFL Europe.  He then closed out his five-and-a-half-year pro career in 2007 in the Arena Football League with the Grand Rapids Rampage.

When it was done he says he made some $3 million fulfilling his boyhood dream of making it in professional football.

Former Washington Redskins player Greg Scott gestures as he addresses children and parents at the Hertford County Public Library this week on overcoming obstacles. Scott, president of the non-profit Cover-3 Foundation, was a special guest for finale of the Summer Reading Program. Later, Scott poses with the group following his remarks. | Photo by Gene Motley

Following football, Scott entered private business as an entrepreneur. Today, he is currently the founder and chairman of the board of Cover-3 Foundation, a non-profit group that provides kids meals to at-risk youth and children who might not otherwise afford school means. The group also teaches nutrition education and educates children on portion control to combat food insecurity, childhood obesity, and reduces health problems caused by poor diet. Currently they have more than 12,400 children in southeastern Virginia enrolled in their after-school feeding program and have served more than two-million meals and snacks since 2010.

Scott was invited here to speak at the Hertford County Public Library as part of their 2017 Summer Reading Program.

“Our theme for this year is ‘Build a Better World’,” said librarian Cynthia Rawls. “Every Tuesday and Thursday we’ve had programs, and since this was our final week, we wanted to close out by letting the children hear from an NFL player and Greg was gracious enough to come and speak with us.”

A group of some 30 children, including groups from Riverview School, the Methodist Children’s Home, and Hertford County High packed the library reading room Tuesday morning to hear Scott speak on something he loves to talk best: teaching young people how to find their purpose.

“I was eager for this opportunity because one of our missions at Cover-3 is to make sure we’re influencing kids to be the best they can be,” he said.

Scott says he speaks to youth groups about the same principles on which he built his company.

“We advocate (you must) have a great attitude, have a great work ethic, then do it with commitment and great things can happen for you,” he noted.

Scott feels proud that he could be educated in the Commonwealth both in high school and in college, and then begin his working career all in the state of Virginia.

“I came home because it’s not only a great place, but also because it means a lot,” he acknowledged. “I had a lot of people who were good to me in this area, and to come home and do something meaningful in my community means the world to me. I’m just thankful for all the support I’ve been able to get from Southampton County and from home; just thankful for a whole lot of love.”

Rawls said she had wanted to close out the Summer Reading Program with something that would have a broad appeal to the youngsters, particularly to teens and young men.

“Gary (assistant librarian, Jones) suggested Greg so we called his administration assistant in Franklin and asked if he would give us just an hour to talk about life and how to achieve things. We then worked out the time arrangement and it was just so wonderful that he could be with us.”

The youngsters ranged in age from seven up to high school.  They heard Scott espouse values on everything from a having a purpose and direction in life to everyday work habits to how to be smart with their finances.

“And you’ve got to love you up some older people,” Scott preached. “Listen to your elders because they’ve already experienced what you have yet to behold.”

“I was once like you,” he added. “I was looking up to someone, hoping they would say something special that would make my day. I had a lot of people who made impactful speeches and some of the things they said stuck with men and I remembered.”

Scott admits he didn’t have a Hall-of-Fame career, but he got a chance to fulfill his dream.

“Some people never get a chance to do that,” he cautioned. “But I did it at a high-level and did it for four or five years. It was eye-opening for me and a confidence booster for my life after football.”

The former pro says he knew if he could deal with the stress of the NFL, then launching his own business wouldn’t be all that bad.

“It helped me stay on the path and always stay focused on the things I wanted to do,” he acknowledged. “We burned the candle on both ends with that one.”

Following the speech, which was also attended by Albemarle Regional Library director Jennifer Patterson, the librarians’ evaluation was based on what they hoped the youngsters had gotten out of it.

“I think it’s important that the children see someone who looks like them, who’s been successful, and has a really good message to tell them about life and how to just achieve things.”

Scott says it’s all about hard work, and giving maximum effort in everything you do.

“One of the kids here today had a saying: ‘Don’t stress, do your best’,” Scott repeated with a laugh.

“His whole visit has been such a success,” said Rawls. “The children have responded, the parents have responded, and we’ve just been working so hard to provide activities for the children the whole summer.”