ANDERSON, Alaska — The Browns have one of the most loyal fan bases across the NFL, and this month Browns running back/wide receiver Demetric Felton found that out firsthand during a trip to meet military members and their families in Alaska.
Felton—joined by Broncos' Andrew Beck and Colts' Kenny Moore II— took a trip to Alaska to visit an Army base, Air Force base and Space Force station, experiencing a day in the life of a service member while observing base activities and sitting in on mission briefing meetings.
“Just seeing the sacrifice they have to go through physical and mental—being far away from their families and having to do that stuff, it was very eye opening for me," Felton said.
The trip took Felton back to the days of his childhood, remembering experiences his dad had during his service as a Navy chaplain.
“It resonated with me because I come from a military background, my dad served for 22 years in the military," Felton said. 'It just reminded me of when I was a kid and knowing the struggles that different military personnel go though."
While Felton got to tour the bases and learn the ins and outs of how the military defense systems in Alaska operate, he also was able to participate in some drills, including wearing a K-9 bite protection suit for a full training experience—a lesson Felton was excited to learn about (but said paled in comparison to a tackle from Browns defensive end Myles Garrett).
"I was really curious to how it is when they put the suits on and they let the dog come and bite them a little bit. So they let me do that, putting the dog through drills and then the dog came and was able to bite on my arm when I had the protective suit on," Felton laughed. "I couldn't feel anything at all, really, but it was just cool being able to see how trained the dogs are...being able to see the connection between the dog owner and the dog was really, really awesome."
Trekking across the state, seeing moose traveling and basking in the breathtaking mountain views were a perk of the trip—but of all of the surprises and lessons learned, there was one thing that stood out to him most.
“We were visiting a base and as soon as we got there, I noticed her—she was decked out in her Browns gear," Felton said.
Thousands of miles across the country, Felton ran into a Browns fan, taking some extra time to chat with her about the team, her fandom and all things orange and brown.
“It was a great experience for us to be able to connect over the Browns," Felton said. "I also got a chance to talk to a kid who was a Browns fan as well. And so being able to talk to him and everything was awesome."
Those moments proved that the Dawg Pound has members even in the furthest corners of the country, and helped inspired Felton to continue his philanthropy here in Northeast Ohio as well as to fans of The Land around the world.
“That’s something that’s always been close to my heart, being able to give back," Felton said. "It just motivates me to do it even more because at the end of the day that’s what it’s always about, just paying it forward, being able to bless someone else.”
Camryn Justice is a digital content producer at News 5 Cleveland. Follow her on Twitter @camijustice.
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