N.E. Patriots Honor Hardy, Donate $20,000 to Ozzie’s Kids

Ozzie Hardy, second from right, receives a $20,000 check from New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and former Patriots hall of famer Andre Tippett Sunday. Photograph courtesy of the New England Patriots.)

A local non-profit, founded by a retired Haverhill police officer, was selected as a “grand prize winner” by the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’s (NEPCF) “Celebrate Volunteerism” initiative.

Ozzie Hardy from “Ozzie’s Kids” received a $20,000 grant for his non-profit during a special “surprise” halftime ceremony Sunday at Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, according to the New England Patriots. The presentation to Hardy was made by Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft and Andre Tippett, pro football hall of famer and executive director of community affairs. Hardy and 14 other “Patriots Difference Makers of The Week” were special guests of the Kraft family as $5,000 awards to the other nonprofits during the 2015 season were also announced. The awards are “aimed to recognize one deserving volunteer who had gone above and beyond to give back to their community.”

“Every season, I am amazed by the incredible stories and contributions of these volunteers," said Kraft. “This year's honorees are extremely dedicated to volunteering and making a difference in their communities. We love to give these individuals some notoriety and reward them for the impact they are having in their communities. Being able to meet each one of them and have the opportunity to provide additional support to their charities is a lot of fun.”

Hardy was also presented an original Tom Merrill Painting in recognition of his portrayal as Santa Claus for of his charitable work for the children of Haverhill, according to local funeral director Kevin B. Comeau, who provided a limousine and driver to Sunday’s Patriots game for Hardy and his two sons.

“Ozzie was honored by the Kraft Family and New England Patriots for his many years of making a difference in the lives of countless children and in his community at the Patriot Titans game,” Comeau posted on social media. “It was a privilege for the Kevin B. Comeau Funeral Home of Haverhill to provide a limo and driver for Ozzie and his two sons for the game in Foxboro.”

“The Celebrate Volunteerism initiative aims to share examples of dedicated volunteers, build awareness of the need for volunteering, identify and educate others about volunteer opportunities and inspire New Englanders to follow the Kraft family’s example of becoming lifelong volunteers,” a spokesperson said.

The Patriots Women’s Association and Patriots families also joined the “Celebrate Volunteerism” initiative by participating in coat and toy drives throughout the season. They also joined more than 20 current and former Patriots players to distribute 220 complete Thanksgiving meals to families in need, prepared for the annual Children's Holiday Party for 250 children and served lunch to women in homeless shelter programs in Boston.