Alicia (Sacramone) Quinn Supports 3rd & Goal
By Meg Kelly
Life is like gymnastics, something Alicia Quinn knows all too well. It can be a balancing act, can floor you, can vault you to new heights, but somehow it always comes full circle.
Quinn, formerly Alicia Sacramone, is one of the greatest American gymnasts ever. The 27-year-old Winchester native most notably captained the United States to a silver medal finish at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In international competition, she is the most decorated American gymnast in the history of the World Artistic Gymnastics Championships with four gold, four silver, and two bronze medals.
So how does one of the best gymnastics in American history emerge from a suburb just outside of Boston?
“I don’t think the size of the town where you’re from really matters,” responded Quinn. “It’s not things that shapes you as a person, it’s the type of people that you surround yourself with. I attest my hard work and loyalty to my parents and coaches. Without them, I don’t think I would of made it as far as I did in gymnastics.”
Quinn certainly left her mark in the record books, but perhaps her biggest impact came from teaming up with her husband, and six-year NFL veteran Brady Quinn, as they are Co-Chairmen of “3rd and Goal,” a non-profit organization that assists veterans facing homelessness and veterans requiring home improvements to improve their lives and aid their transition back into civilian life.
Brady started the organization after a visit with wounded veterans while playing for the Denver Broncos in 2011 and noticed how many veterans were struggling to receive the funding needed to support themselves both physically and mentally as they adapted back into civilian life. Quinn called his father, a Vietnam veteran, and expressed his concerns. The two brainstormed an idea to help veterans using Quinn’s platform as an athlete and passion to aid others along with his father’s skill set as a homebuilder. Out of that phone call came the most important start of Quinn’s career, the start of “3rd and Goal.”
“I’ve always felt a civic duty to this country,” said Brady. “Having so many who served in my family I believe it’s only right to give back to those who protect this great nation.
“I see the impact athletes may have in grabbing the attention of others to help a cause,” he went on. “We are so blessed to have gotten to the pinnacles of our sports that I feel it’s our duty to support the brave men and women who make it possible for us to play professional sports.”
The transition back to civilian life can be burdensome to many veterans as they face post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, lack of support systems and unemployment as many military skills and training are not always immediately transferable to civilian work.
Since its founding, 3rd and Goal has mostly assisted veterans in the Greater Columbus, Ohio and South Bend, Indiana region, focusing on helping homeless veterans find secure, safe, clean housing that offers a supportive environment free of drugs and alcohol.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that over 50,000 veterans are homeless on any given night while about 1.4 million other veterans are considered at risk of homelessness due to poverty, lack of support networks, and dismal living conditions in overcrowded or substandard housing.
3rd and Goal works with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs and local homeless shelters to create awareness and to break the cycle of veterans facing homelessness.
In some cases, 3rd and goal will grant “Touchdowns” to qualified applicants that go toward building, or remodeling, homes and living areas for veterans and their families facing difficult living environments.
“We truly believe that these gifts, or “Touchdowns” as we call them, are at a critical point in these veteran’s or soldier’s lives,” stated Brady. “Hence the name, 3rd and Goal. A critical point in which we believe we execute a specific play to help provide aid to our soldiers in need.”
In cases of veterans who face financial difficulty, but are not homeless, 3rd and Goal seeks to assure veterans can life comfortable and safely despite their economic situation.
“The ability to give back to veterans who give some much of themselves for this great nation is an honor and is truly humbling,” remarked Alicia. “The vets we have been able to help are so gracious and appreciative for the aid provided by 3rd & Goal hearing their testimonials always gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes knowing we could alleviate some of the stress in their lives.”
The Quinn’s are inspired and hopefully for the future of both 3rd and Goal and veterans, but know as the types of warfare change, so will 3rd and Goal.
“We know that the type of warfare changes as well as the type of injuries our veterans sustain,” stated Brady. “We look to continue and adapt to provide relief by whatever means necessary to ensure that our soldiers know there is someone back home who’s looking out for them.”
Though Alicia is heavily involved with 3rd and Goal, she often is in a balancing act with several other duties. She recently founded Short Girl Couture, an online boutique catering to petite women and serves as a gymnastics analysis on the SEC Network.
However, she often finds herself in the place where it all started, where she logged endless hours of training, where she now passes on the lessons she learned, the gym.
“It only seems fair to give back to the sport that gave so much to me,” said the former Olympian. “I now coach little girls who one day dream of accomplishing great goals in the sport and its a blessing to be a part of their journey and guide them along the way.”
Though it wasn’t until a hiatus from gymnastics from an Achillies injury that made Quinn realize how much gymnastics meant to her, but more importantly, the impact she had on others, making her gymnastics journey come full circle.
“When I first started competing at a high level I don’t think I understood the magnitude of my platform or of the influence I had over others,” she said. “It wasn’t until after the 2008 Olympics when I took some time away from the sport and decided to come back to train for the 2012 Olympic games that I really saw the impact I had on people and young athletes. I take the responsibility of being a role model for young women and girls to heart and love to inspire others to reach their top potential.”