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Billy Napier, the head coach of the UF Gators, collaborates with Gainesville Fisher House

The five special edition black jerseys honoring members of the armed forces, veterans, and local first responders are posed in front of Billy Napier, head football coach of the University of Florida Gators, Mrs. Patti Fabiani, executive director of the Gainesville Fisher House Foundation, Mr. Rick Fabiani, president of the Gainesville Fisher House Foundation, and Mr. Kimo Ortiz (far left), manager of the Gainesville Fisher House. The Gainesville Fisher House will receive a direct benefit from the auction of the jerseys on May 25.
Written by Ryan Jernegan

Billy Napier, the head football coach of the University of Florida Gators, today announced a partnership with the Gainesville Fisher House and donated five limited-edition UF Gator football jerseys. The jerseys will be put up for auction on May 25.

On November 4, 2023, during the 2023 College Football Season, the Gators honored veterans, active duty soldiers, and first responders in the community by wearing special edition black jerseys. Terms like honor, courage, devotion, integrity, and excellence—all strongly linked to military service and first responders—are emblazoned on the nameplates of the jerseys.

Coach Napier stated that the original intent behind the jerseys was to raise awareness and express respect and admiration for first responders and all branches of the armed forces.

“In trying to figure out our path in life, I think it is a unique decision,” Napier remarked. “Choosing that path and risking your life requires a unique quality, and in my opinion, the military best captures the essence of teamwork and life in general. They inspire great respect in me because of their discipline, dedication, and interpersonal relationships.

The Gainesville Fisher House Foundation, which offers cozy and reasonably priced accommodation to families of veterans receiving care at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, will directly benefit from the auction of the distinctive, signed jerseys.

The National Fisher House Foundation and the general public contribute to the construction of Fisher Houses, while the local Veterans Health System is in charge of the completed homes’ operating expenses. The Gainesville Fisher House is completely outfitted, has 20 bedrooms, a large, fully functional kitchen, dining areas, washers and dryers, and is roughly 15,000 square feet. It is also 100% handicapped-accessible.

Coach Napier continued to praise the Fisher House and its goal. According to Napier, “The Fisher House is unique in its cause and the help they provide.” “I believe that the Fisher House is special because the people who defended the liberties we may take for granted are also families.”

The North Florida/South Georgia VHS is appreciative of Coach Napier’s work and anticipates more collaborations that will deepen our bonds with the community, which benefit both our veterans and the larger Gainesville area.

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