Former SU football coach and current Buffalo Bills head coach Doug Marrone was in Canastota on Saturday, supporting the third annual Red, White and Blue barbeque to benefit Clear Path for Veterans Resource Center and their program Dogs2Vets.
The program provides professional support, instruction, guidance and advocacy for veterans wishing to train their own psychiatric service dog. Marrone stood in front of the under-construction "Home for the Brave", which is a project that offers a Veteran long term, on-site intensive training. Saturday, in conjunction with the barbeque (their biggest) fundraiser of the year), Clear Path for Veterans announced their Capital Campaign Project. Go to www.clearpathforvets.com to see how you can help.
After the meet and greet session at the facility, Marrone spoke about how much the organization means to him, saying that it was a priority to stay involved when he and his family moved from Syracuse to Buffalo when he took the Bills head coaching job. He even compared the growth of Clear Path for Veterans and his programs.
"I've seen the benefits of it," Marrone says. "I just see a program that's building, kind of like what we were doing at Syracuse and like what we're doing now with Buffalo. You look and it started with the Dogs2Vets, and I think that was outstanding. Then we planted a big ol' strawberry field in the back, and right behind us is the Home for the Brave so we're building on these programs and to make that transition better for our veterans to do everything that we can to make that transition better and to give them proper care."
As always, Marrone was also ready to talk football on Saturday, with his excitement for Clear Path for Veterans mirroring his excitement for the upcoming Buffalo Bills season, his second at the helm of the franchise.
"I'm excited because last year we didn't have a lot of practices, and obviously we had new quarterbacks and new systems and things like that," Marrone, whose Bills finished 6-10 in 2013, says. "This year we're playing the in the Hall of Fame game so we have the most practices and that excites me because we need that...the retention of what we've been doing should be better than a longer break, so we're definitely a better football team. You can see that on the field, now we're gonna have to go out there and execute."