HOUSTON, TX. (WWLP/NEXSTAR) – In order for the big game to go off without a hitch, it takes thousands of people working behind the scenes.
Ashlyn Blakeman, a volunteer captain, said, “It’s just leaving an imprint. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of us, and it’s not something we will be able to do again, so we want to make the most positive impact we can.”
This past August, 32,000 people who lived in and around the city of Houston applied to be volunteers for Super Bowl 51. After a strict interview process, that number was cut down to 10,000. For this entire week, the 10,000 volunteers, who are dressed in red, are taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and leaving their imprint by ensuring the millions of visitors share a first rate experience in their city.
Andy Newman, the director of volunteers, said, “They make the difference between a good and a great event. These guys, these 10,000 volunteers will become the face of the city. If we get those human touch points right, folks will leave having those once-in-a-lifetime memories that we are trying to create.”
The feedback from the visitors about their interaction with the volunteers has been overwhelmingly positive. Cynthia guzman, a volunteer, said, “We notice that people are so focused on getting to where they’re at, that if you make eye contact with them and you just say, ‘hi, welcome,’ they’re all excited, they light up.”
Aside from the guests, the NFL has also shared their recognition and gratitude to the volunteers, and hopes it will carry over to future NFL host cities for the Super Bowl.