The list of accolades for Marcell Dareus over the course of his career is extensive to say the list. From being named the BCS National Championship game MVP at Alabama, going third overall in the draft, and being selected as an All-Pro, Dareus has proven himself time and time again. The defensive tackle for the Buffalo Bills is regarded as one of the most dominant defensive players in the league as he is a force to be reckoned with on the field. Stepping off the field, however, there is quite a drastic change in appearance. Dareus’ story goes well beyond that of what takes place between the hash marks, as what he does off the field may not be recognized with grand fanfare. Dareus’ ties off the field link him back to family and his humble origins, which include the country of Haiti and the state of Georgia.
Giving back to his father’s homeland, graciously Dareus partnered with the Hope For Haiti Foundation to participate in a humanitarian trip. This partnership included a $25,000 donation to the foundation whose mission is to improve the quality of life for Haiti, specifically the children.
“Hope for Haiti is very grateful to Marcell Dareus for his investment in our mission,” said Skyler Badenoch, CEO of Hope for Haiti. “We are more committed than ever to help improve the quality of life for the people of Haiti, especially children, and investments like this are critical to our ability to make a real impact in Haiti.”
Greeted with open arms, Dareus, visited two schools during his time in the country including St. Anne de Boisrond Primary School and St. Michel Parochial School of Zanglais d Aquin, which were sporting his signature captain’s hat that he had previously donated to the children at these locations.
“Meeting the Haitian children touched me the most,” Dareus explained. “I saw myself in them. They helped me remember a time when I was little and my father raised us in the Haitian community in Tampa. We were struggling too. It amazed me they were so happy, polite and grateful, even though they have barely anything. It made me realize again how fortunate I am. When I saw those welcome signs with my name on them, I really couldn’t believe it.”
This cultural experience for the humanitarian only continued as he was taken on a tour at a care facility and one of the few Haiti nursing homes. The 330-pound lineman met his match when he ran into a 105-year old woman who stopped to pray for him.
“The trip is still surreal to me,” said Dareus, who has long awaited this trip. “I can’t say thank you enough to Hope for Haiti for putting this together for me, letting me experience the culture of my father’s people and understand where my donation is being put to use.”
The charitable work done overseas by Dareus did not go entirely unnoticed. In Georgia, Dareus was recognized for his overall achievements as an athlete and as a humanitarian with a document saying that March 13th would be Marcell Dareus day.
“I’m so happy and honored to have a day named after me in Georgia, one of my adopted homes that have treated me so well,” said Dareus. “The city of Atlanta and the whole state means a lot to me. They’ve welcomed me with open arms and now with this great honor, I feel like a true native.”
In a league where intimidation and a ruthless behavior is encouraged, Marcell Dareus is a man among boys in terms of the work he does in the community. As players in the NFL come and go, the work done overseas for the children will not be soon forgotten.