Featured Story

Big ‘E,’ Riverhead CAP partner once again to support students at Phillips Avenue Elementary School

Big “E” continues to support his hometown in a big way.

Ethan Greenidge, who has been a member of the New Orleans Saints in the NFL for the past four seasons, and Riverhead Community Awareness Program president Brian Stark partnered to purchase more than $4,000 worth of school supplies for students at Phillips Avenue Elementary School.

They have partnered in the past to support Phillips students and Mr. Greenidge proposed doubling the amount after they gave $2,000 in 2021.

“To me it’s always important to give back,” Mr. Greenidge said in a press release through Riverhead CAP. “The town that helped raise you isn’t just a place to grow up and move on from. You go back whenever you can and invest time, love and effort in the people and in their children, because I was once one of them.”

He added that kids should never have to worry about school gear, food and basic necessities.

“Kids are innocent and we have a chance to shape their future if we help them early and let them enjoy growing up in a loving town,” he said.

Principal Stephen Hudson thanked Mr. Greenidge and Mr. Stark for the donation, saying the money went a long way toward supplies for the students.

“Your continued support of Phillips Avenue, and the entire school district is more appreciated then we are able to express,” he said.

Mr. Stark once coached Mr. Greenidge. He said Mr. Greenidge has always been generous with giving back.

“He’s grateful for the support he got and pays it forward,” Mr. Stark said. “We have increased our donation this year because it directly impacts an acute need. It’s a good feeling.”

Xann and Robin Greenidge of Flanders attended a ceremony in support of their son’s donation.

“Things have gotten so expensive and for families at Phillips; not worrying worrying is something we wanted to help with,” Ms. Greenidge said. “I’m glad our community came together and we were able to make sure these kids didn’t have to be concerned  about not having what they needed  for school.”

Riverhead CAP has provided prevention and counseling services at Phillips Avenue since 1990, according to a press release. A social worker from CAP attends the school to help students three days a week.

After joining the Saints as an undrafted rookie in 2019 following his graduation from Villanova University, Mr. Greenidge has seen his last two NFL seasons cut short due to injury. He made his NFL debut on the field in September 2020 during the Saints’ Week 1 game against Tampa Bay. The 6-foot-4, 335-pound lineman played left tackle for a handful of special teams plays in that game. He became the first Riverhead grad to appear in a regular season NFL game since Scott Mersereau in 1993.

In August, Greenidge was placed on the Saints’ injured reserve list with an undisclosed injury, forcing him to sit out the entire regular season. He missed all of the 2021 season with an arm injury he suffered during the preseason that year.

Mr. Greenidge resigned with the Saints before this season after his initial three-year rookie contract expired. He signed a one-year, $1 million contract for the 2022 season, according to spotrac.com, and will become a free agent next year.

Mr. Greenidge was honored as the News-Review’s Sportsperson of the Year for 2019.