PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - Rutherford alum Javien Elliott is moving out of Florida for the first time after signing a one year deal with the Carolina Panthers in June.
Before camp kicks off July 25th, the cornerback is spending time in Panama City with family, friends, and the community, hosting Family Fun Day at Oakland Terrace Park.
The event had a little bit of everything for everyone, like new shoes for the kids, fried foods, free ice cream and snow cones, plus fun activities like water slides and kickball. Of course, no event with a football player would be complete without sign ups though the Gulf Coast Youth Football Association.
It's something Elliott always wanted to do if he made it big: give back to the place that gave so much to him.
"The main thing is, this is where I'm from," Elliott said. "Went to elementary, middle school, high school, it was just good to give back to the kids, put smiles on other people's faces."
Especially after Hurricane Michael, this became a priority for Elliott.
"It was extremely important. I didn't want this year to go by without doing anything for the city or community, so I feel like this was the perfect time."
Panhandle athletes have stepped up to support their home, even those who aren't making the big bucks yet.
Florida State junior defensive end Janarius Robinson, a Bay alum, has been back in numerous capacities. Robinson's family home was destroyed (soon to be rebuilt) but he has also come back with other FSU teams to help clean up and on Saturday, he returned to support Javien's event.
Both Robinson and Elliott will be back again. While much of the region affected by the hurricane feels forgotten, they're trying to use their status for good.
"We can put a spotlight on Panama City because we're from this area and we're on platforms where people look at us and they can notice that we're still going through tough times around here," Robinson said. "I'm just thankful enough that we're on that platform where we can get our community help and [change] how people look at our community because we're on that level."
Elliott hopes to make the Family Fun Day a yearly event.
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