(As part of Bengals.com's high school journalism program, this story is written by a member of the journalism club at Cincinnati's Aiken New Tech High School headed by Lakisha Zyyon and Tyler Stowers. Photo is by student photographer Daymien Robinson.)
Coming from different backgrounds and cultures to form any kind of team is like trying to dissolve sugar in ice-cold water. Watching four Bengals who play very different positions and come from distinctly different backgrounds, it is easy to see why they are considered role models as they give back to their community.
Building a ramp for a U.S. Army veteran last month is a reminder that giving back transcends all our differences.
The contingent of left guard Cordell Volson, tight end Irv Smith Jr., long snapper Cal Adomitis, and cornerback Allan George gathered at the home of James Angel in the Golf Manor neighborhood of Cincinnati to install a ramp provided by Ramp It Up, an organization dedicated to helping vets.
"Our veterans have given so much for us," Volson said. "So if there is a way for us to give back to them and make their day-to-day life a little easier, then it's a great opportunity."
Volson, who comes from Balfour N.D., population 17, says he was taught how important it is to work together.
"I grew up in a small town. I graduated with 12 of us, so it was a really unique experience." Volson said.
He talked about how each person relied on each other. In 2011 a flood severely damaged the town and the community came together to repair the devastation.
In contrast to Volson's upbringing, Irv Smith Jr. came from the NFL city of New Orleans, where his dad played for the Saints. He was inspired by his father's community involvement and seeing all the football helmets around his house made Irv want to follow in his dad's footsteps.
"In New Orleans, it's a lot of poverty and a place where a lot of people need help," Smith said.
Small town or NFL city, their common goal of helping their adopted Cincinnati leads.
"We all came together to do something special," Smith said. "That definitely inspires us."