In an impromptu meeting, this diverse team discussed opportunities to give back valuable life information. The idea was to identify Sports professionals who could give first-hand knowledge of the difficulties and hurdles young athletes face as they transition to adulthood. These discussions culminated in the formation of a non-profit organization with a focus on the growth and development of community youth. From this, the inaugural Alabama/Auburn NFL Alumni Youth Camp was established with a focus on providing valuable information centered on the principles of Sportsmanship, Athleticism, Financial Literacy and Excellence (S.A.F.E.).
Earnest (Smokey) Hodge serves as the organization's Director of Community Relations. He is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. He attended Woodlawn High school where he was a two-sport athlete - football and basketball. He was the number one lineman in the State of Alabama in 1984. He played football under the legendary Pat Dye, and participated in two Sugar Bowls. He is a champion for the betterment of young people. He uses his experience in sports to encourage and guide youth to become confident and valuable contributors to society.
A native of Montgomery, Alabama where he was a standout 2 sport All-State athlete for the G.W. Carver High Wolverines. Bruce was named All-Southeastern Conference in 1986 and 1987, All-America in 1987, and Citrus Bowl MVP in 1987. He graduated from Auburn with a Bachelors Degree in Education/Sports Management., and was was then drafted with the first overall pick in the 1988 NFL Draft by the Atlanta Falcons. Aundray has participated in numerous charitable organizations and fundraising events to support those less fortunate. The greatest of his efforts are aimed at youth education and life lessons. What is nearest and dearest to him the role of advocate for NFL players and their challenges after the final whistle.
A native of Montgomery, Alabama and a veteran of the U. S. Air Force. He is a Certified Peer Support Specialist and Behavioral Health Counselor with the Alabama Department of Mental Health and a Commander with the American Legion. Commander Williams currently serves as Executive Director of the PEERS (Positive Environment Engaging Recovery Support) Caring Home for Veterans - a Veterans housing program he founded and established in 2017. He joined forces with his brother Eugene Thomas, and Iron Bowl legends Smokey Hodge and Aundray Bruce as co-founder of S.A.F.E. Youth Camp Cordinators Inc. with the full intentions to further advance his community support efforts by combining their unique individual approaches and ideas, and by uniting their similar passion to always be of service to their community.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business from Dillard University, New Orleans, LA as well as a Master of Science degree in Management from Troy University. Prior to joining forces with the S.A.F.E. team, Eugene served as a leader within technology services for the local utility company in Jacksonville, Florida. In addition to his formal role, his commitment to community allowed him opportunity to serve as company ambassador and executive loaner to organizations such as United Way of NE Florida, Community Health Charities. Eugene has always sought out opportunities to serve his community with organizations whose focus is to meet the needs, individually and in combination, of youth, the elderly, the homeless, veterans and those with special needs.