Joe Horn helps St. John fund children’s activity scholarship fund

Published 12:12 am Saturday, April 4, 2015

RESERVE — When St. John the Baptist Parish Parks and Recreation director Kerry Watkins was challenged with raising funds for local children interested in participating in the parish’s recreation activities, he and his co-workers issued a challenge of their own.

Hence, last week’s fundraising basketball game between teams comprised of St. John Parish Government employees and those from the St. John Sheriff’s Office was born. And while the Sheriff’s Office team proved the winners on the scoreboard at Regala Park gymnasium —  via a 78-70 final — Watkins said the night proved a success and yielded infinitely more winners.

Joe Horn and Kerry Watkins share a moment on the sidelines during last week’s game.

Joe Horn and Kerry Watkins share a moment on the sidelines during last week’s game.

“The goal was to raise money through donations for kids who can’t afford the registration fee,” he said. “We’ve initiated a sponsorship fund for that purpose. It went very well, and we feel really good about how the event will help us.”

A number of recognizable faces took part in the action, including Sheriff Mike Tregre and Watkins, himself.

But the night’s biggest celebrity star was former New Orleans Saints wide receiver Joe Horn, a personal friend of Watkins, who took the court for Watkins’ Parish team. Watkins, a former Canadian Football League star, is close with Horn and said the two golf together on a regular basis.

“Joe is always a great and willing ambassador to come out and help a cause,” Watkins said.

Horn, who takes residence in Covington, said participating in the game was an easy call.

“Any time it’s about the kids, I’m down for it,” he said. “You look at all these guys out here, they’ve got jobs, they’re working hard every day and they’re taking the time tonight. When Kerry asked me, I was all in.”

Horn played for three NFL teams, but is best known for his time with the Saints, whom he played for from 2000-2006. Horn was selected to four Pro Bowls in that span and went on to earn entry to the New Orleans Saints Hall of Fame. Horn is second in Saints history in terms of receiving touchdowns (50) and third in yards (7,622) and receptions (523).

“I’m still committed to our community,” Horn said. “And when I say our community, I mean our state as a whole; anywhere I’m needed in Louisiana.”

Watkins said in addition to raising money, the goal of building communication and camaraderie between the two parish entities was also a success. He said plans are in place to make the game a regular event, perhaps even as frequently as once a month.

“It’s something we want to build off of,” he said. “We’re excited.” about it.”

As of Friday morning, parish officials had not released how much money was raised.