ROWLAND — Heavy rain in Robeson County forced a one-day delay of a celebration to honor Vonta Leach, a member of the Super Bowl XLVII champion Baltimore Ravens, that had been planned for Saturday.
The three-hour celebration has been moved to 3 p.m. today, with a procession down Main Street. The town expects eight floats, cheerleaders, three bands and The University of North Carolina at Pembroke football team to be part of the parade. After the parade, the event will continue at the Rowland Ballpark on McCormick Street.
Leach announced the postponement on Twitter just after 8 a.m. Saturday.
The town is still accepting donations to pay for the event. After the bills are paid, any money remaining will go to the Vonta Leach Foundation.
“We have 38 sponsors and we’ve earned enough to pay for the event,” Rowland Town Councilman Paul Hunt said last week. “The remainder is going to the Foundation. So far we’ve raised $7,375. We hope to at least give Vonta a couple thousand dollars.”
Leach, a graduate of South Robeson High School and East Carolina University, is ready to put that money to work.
“It will help me continue doing what I’m doing with my foundation,” Leach said. “We can give various funds to schools throughout the year. The money earned will get cycled right back into the community.”
Leach said he plans to interact with fans at the parade’s conclusion and might “play catch with the kids” at the park.
In a recent article by The Charlotte Observer about Leach , a source close to him estimated he had given the town about $400,000 in donations in recent years, including holding a free summer football camp each year, paying off the mortgage of New Hope United Methodist Church, his home church, providing scholarships and taking children on annual Christmas shopping sprees.
“It feels good to know that my hometown is honoring me,” Leach said. “It feels good to bring the Super Bowl to Robeson County and my hometown of Rowland.”