Fun Finds Friday: NFL Lineman to School Lunch Man

[dot_recommends] January 21, 2022 Uncategorized

A Retired NFL Offensive Lineman Is Redesigning School Lunch

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What do star athletes do when they retire from professional sports? For Jared Veldheer, once named among the “most indispensable players” in the NFL, the answer came from the heart.

Age 34 and Starting a Third – and Final – NFL Retirement

Veldheer played for several NFL teams, including the Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders.

In summer 2021, after two previous retirements found him returning to play for the Green Bay Packers and the Indianapolis Colts, Veldheer retired from the NFL for good.

Looking for the Next Challenge

At age 34, he wondered what his next challenge would be. In part because of his love of cooking and nutrition, Veldheer noticed when the Catholic school his children attended advertised for a school cafeteria supervisor.

Set financially from his NFL career earnings, Veldheer needed meaningful work, not money. So, he decided to take on the $15 per hour school cafeteria supervisor role.

Greasy Pizza Is Off the Menu in Veldheer’s Cafeteria

The 260 students, ranging from preschool to eighth grade, returned to school to find corn dogs and chicken nuggets replaced by braised cabbage and veggie English muffin pizza.

Throughout his time as a pro athlete, Veldheer focused on nutrition and the mind-body connection. Now, he passes on that knowledge to students as he places entrées and sides on their cafeteria trays.

Kindergartners Are His Toughest Critics

The kids haven’t always been receptive to the menu changes, though.

Once, to get kids to try German sausage and sauerkraut, Veldheer—who is 6’ 8” and weighs 265 lbs.—came to work wearing lederhosen. Sorry, no photo of that was included in the Washington Post article!

This fun story has me thinking about so many things: nutrition, meaningful work, and more.

What’s on your mind? Connect with us on LinkedIn or Tweet us. We’re always happy to talk.

–parin
Managing Partner

Image credit: Washington Post  (Katie Tietema)

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