'Shop with a Jock' event draws hundreds to Mission Valley-area Target

Familiar face of Junior Seau missed at event

SAN DIEGO - Local icons and professional athletes are once again in the giving spirit this holiday season. On Tuesday night, dozens took part in the 18th annual "Shop with a Jock" event at the Mission Valley Target store. 

They were shopping with 250 lucky children. All had to write an essay to take part in the event.

"I was pretty surprised when I won," said one teenager.

But the children were not buying gifts for themselves: they were spending their $100 Target gift cards on others.

"I'm getting makeup for my sister," said 6-year-old Kison.  

Nine-year-old Karina told 10News, "I'm going to get a present for my teacher and it's going to be an Alicia Keys CD."

Others like former Chargers player Jacques Cesaire and an 11-year-old named Christian were buying blankets for the homeless.

"I know what it's like," Christian told 10News.  "I just want to help them because they are going to be cold."

The event attracted more than just Chargers and Padres players. There were Toreros, Aztecs, Olympic athletes and former professional athletes. Even skateboarding legend Tony Hawk was there.

"Hi Tony Hawk," said 9-year-old Karina as she waved to him.

Visibly missing from this event was the beaming smile of Junior Seau. The Chargers linebacker and San Diego sports icon committed suicide earlier this year.

"He was so powerful in what he was doing with that," said San Diego Padres' Will Venable. "He was able to create enough interest in this. Everyone is still participating in it now."

Those who knew him said Junior's presence was felt.

"Junior would certainly be proud," said Ken Ramirez, a member of the Junior Seau Foundation board. "Looking down at this event, he'd certainly be proud of the excitement, the involvement and what the foundation has been able to do to support the community."

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