SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP/CBS) -- The New England Patriots are doing their part to help the victims of the Massachusetts tornadoes.
The team's charitable arm, represented by current player Ron Brace and NFL Hall of Fame linebacker Andre Tippett, announced Tuesday that it would match tornado relief donations made to the United Way up to a maximum of $100,000.
Brace, a defensive lineman, is a native of Springfield, one of the communities hardest hit by the June 1 tornadoes that claimed three lives and destroyed hundreds of homes in a swath across Hampden and Worcester counties.
Brace was moved to tears when he talked of the destruction. He says his childhood home was damaged but everyone in his family was safe.
"This is where I grew up. This is the place that made me who I am," said Brace. "Every chance I get to help Springfield I will. We need to keep rebuilding this city and make it even better than before these tornadoes came in."
"Our hearts and minds are with the residents of western and central Massachusetts impacted by the tornadoes," said Tippett, the Patriots' Executive Director of Community Affairs. "We hope the knowledge that every dollar donated will be doubled is additional incentive for the community to contribute to this important cause."
"The tornadoes that touched down in central and western Massachusetts earlier this month completely demolished many homes and ravaged communities throughout the region," said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. "While the news and images were devastating, the countless examples of volunteerism and the outpouring of support has been inspirational."
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"We applaud the countless volunteers and all those who have already contributed to this relief effort. They make us proud to be New Englanders," Mr. Kraft added.
Funds raised will be assigned to the Massachusetts Statewide Disaster Relief Fund.
(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)
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