Wednesday, August 1
Updated: August 2, 3:04 AM ET
Stringer 'a genuine friend' to young people

MINNEAPOLIS -- Without his Minnesota Vikings jersey and Pro Bowl moves, Korey Stringer was just another 335-pound volunteer sitting among fifth-graders in Carol Dey's class.

In memory of Korey Stringer
The Stringer family and the Minnesota Vikings have requested that gifts in memory of Stringer be given to the Minnesota Viking Children's Fund on behalf of Korey's Crew, c/o US Bank, SDS 12-2147, P.O. Box 86, Minneapolis, Minn. 55486-2147.

"No. 2 was football, it was always education that he would talk about," said Dey, recalling the 22-year-old rookie who began monthly visits to her class five years ago.

From libraries to locker rooms, Stringer is being remembered as a person who showed up in the stands of high school football games, talked about math with elementary students and remembered the first name of a 12-year-old child a year after they met.

Stringer, 27, died early Wednesday of heat stroke, a day after collapsing at the Vikings' training camp in Mankato.

"He would say, 'When you read, you succeed,"' said Josh Neurer, 12, who listened the past two years as Stringer preached volunteerism and reading to a group of young St. Paul library workers.

Stringer remembered Josh's name from the year before and even recalled the seventh-grader also played tackle on the city's football league. Stringer arrived a half-hour early to spend time with each child -- Josh even got few football tips.

"When you're blocking, always pursue the defensive guy with an angle of pursuit and come off the ball quick," Josh recalled. The boy later received a letter from Stringer, congratulating him on his library work.

Stringer promoted literacy and local involvement as part of his "Korey's Crew," a community program he started.

Dey said Stringer wasn't like other celebrities who have volunteered in her classroom at Bancroft Elementary School in Minneapolis. The gigantic lineman would sit among the fifth-graders and ask what they were reading.

The class had a display of a Viking's head with a braid that a student would attach a piece of paper to for each book read. Stringer challenged the kids to extend the braid to the principal's office down the hall, which they eagerly did.

This spring, Stringer came back and celebrated the feat with pizza, Dey said.

"He was a friend. He was a genuine friend from another world," she said. "It's a great loss to our school and our community."

Stringer used to show up in the stands during football games for St. Paul Central High School. Last year, he volunteered with the team three times a week, sometimes taking the 16-, 17- and 18-year-old linemen aside on the field, said coach Scott Howell.

"From day one -- when I introduced him to my team -- two minutes later, he was walking with our top receiver, walking down the hallway telling him, 'OK, here's what you're going to do,"' Howell said.

It wasn't just footwork. Stringer also would counsel players on grades and college.

"He was down-to-earth -- worked right alongside the kids," Howell said. "He did a little bit of everything."

 More from ESPN...
Vikings All-Pro Stringer dies from heat stroke complications
Minnesota Vikings right ...

Only time will make Vikings' pain go away
The grieving process can be ...

Jaguars' Daniels loses 'best friend'
LeShun Daniels of the Jaguars ...

Longtime cry from players: Shorten preseason
Before Korey Stringer's ...

Importance of hydration preached on Jaguars
Tom Coughlin, one of the ...

Ratto: Plenty of questions to be answered
Korey Stringer's death ...

Punch: Every athlete is susceptible
ESPN's Dr. Jerry Punch says ...

NFL acknowledges heat's wake-up call
Korey Stringer's death ...

Stringer's ex-coordinator Billick dealt blow by loss
A half-hour before the ...

Stringer's death stuns training camp spectators
The death of Minnesota ...

Indiana high school football player dies hours after Stringer
Just hours after the death of ...

 ESPN Tools
Email story
Most sent stories