"Fight. Dedication. Champion. Devotion. Relentless. Heart."
Those are the words of encouragement gracing one of the walls in the Ronald McDonald House's new Crew-themed fitness room that the facility's guests will draw inspiration from during their stay. After a two-year process, the room was unveiled Tuesday in a ribbon-cutting ceremony as part of Black & Gold Week to mark the club's Massive Makeover project for 2013.
In partnership with Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, former Crew player and the club's current Assistant Technical Director and TV Analyst Duncan Oughton spearheaded the project with help from the Front Office and the generosity of others who donated their time and materials.
"It's pretty cool to just walk into this room and just think back when Jamie Foltz and Lisa Wu Fate of Ronald McDonald House came and said, 'Hey, let's do something here,'" Oughton explained. "We all kind of put our heads together, then (Creative Services Manager) Will Bennett from the Crew got involved and put some amazing design and touches into it. I don't think I could've dreamt it would turn out this well. It's beautiful. It's something to be proud of and we're really happy to have it here in such an amazing, giving place like the Ronald McDonald House."
"It's amazing. It's beautiful," Foltz, the Director of Special Events for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio echoed. "It's been years in waiting, but it's been well worth it. Our families can't not be energized when they walk in this room. It's beautiful."
Though involved in the planning and execution of the project, Crew President and General Manager Mark McCullers had yet to see the finished product. McCullers couldn't believe his eyes after he cut the ribbon on Tuesday.
"Last year we started looking at the space and we knew we wanted to have a presence here, supporting families whose kids are seriously ill and may have extended stays at hospitals in the area." McCullers said. "The idea of supporting the fitness room in particular, which is a perfect fit with our brand, was very attractive to us. Plus, we thought it would be a great service to those families. Everything came together, but I hadn't seen the space since it was finished and when I walked in here, I was blown away. It's fantastic."
The project is just the latest impact the Crew has made in the Columbus community, something the organization takes just as much pride in as it does winning on the soccer field.
"I think being involved in the community is one of the most important things that we do as a sports organization," McCullers explained. "I think it's our responsibility to do things like this. It represents the heart of our organization and what our people are all about. It extends our club culture into the community. It's extremely important and extremely satisfying."
"I think all the [players] do a good job of being part of the community," Oughton said. "Obviously, Ronald McDonald House has been something that I've been close to since back when I was a player to now. It's amazing. I just love this community and being part of it."