2017: 49ers Community Relations Veteran Service Award
2018: 49ers Community Relations Veteran Service Award
Celek and his teammates surprised guests of the CityTeam Men’s Program and House of Grace on November 20, 2018, at Levi’s Stadium. The group believed they were just taking a tour of the stadium, but they were in fact joining the 49ers players for a night full of exciting events. The guests received a makeover and haircut, selected a new outfit from Dockers, snapped a new headshot and then shared a Thanksgiving dinner with the 49ers players.
After posing for a photo shoot, Celek and his teammates joined Levi’s in support of breast, colon and pediatric cancer warriors at the Crucial Catch Fashion Show presented by Dignity Health on October 2, 2018. 49ers players and cancer warriors took to the runway to show off their attire and share their stories of strength and courage with the audience.
The 49ers joined forces with Martha’s Kitchen of San Jose as part of their Community Tuesday kickoff event on September 11, 2018. Celek and teammates took part in the event by serving dinner to nearly 200 residents in need, refilling beverages and bussing tables. Both the 49ers and Levi’s Stadium partner with Martha’s Kitchen throughout the year by donating excess food after stadium events. Martha’s Kitchen’s mission is to “feed the hungry with dignity, no questions asked, no judgements made.”
The 49ers worked alongside the humanitarian-relief organization Convoy of Hope on December 4, 2018, and hosted 1,500 guests in-need from Bay Area nonprofits and schools at Levi’s® Stadium for a free holiday resource fair. Celek and his 49ers teammates distributed groceries, toys, books, shoes and other holiday offerings to the guests. The attendees also received haircuts, utilized health resources and took family portraits or professional headshots. Convoy of Hope is a nonprofit organization that directs children’s feeding initiatives, hosts community outreach programs and provides disaster response resources to those in need in the Bay Area and throughout the world.
The 49ers partnered with Furry Friends Pet Assisted Therapy Services for animal therapy, while providing confidence building activities for students in the Leland High School special needs program in an effort to erase the stigma attached to special needs. Celek and his teammates spent time with students with autism, mental illness and learning disabilities as they play board games, working on social skills including conversational queues and eye contact through the hands-on activity. Players will also partner with animal therapy dogs to uplift students through one-on-one interactions. “There are things that are more important in life,” said Celek. “Eventually, football’s going to be over for me, and it can’t be my entire life. I need other things that make me happy in life, too. This does.”
In honor of the NFL’s Crucial Catch campaign, the 49ers hosted a fashion show on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017, featuring breast cancer and pediatric cancer warriors in apparel donated by Levi’s®. Celek, along with his 49ers teammates, walked the runway with cancer warriors as they shared their stories of strength and courage with the audience.
As part of Salute to Service Month, Celek, along with his teammates and general manager, John Lynch, visited the USO office at the San Jose Military Entrance Processing Station to spend time with military applicants and their families as they took the Oath of Enlistment and shipped off to basic training.
Celek has a strong passion for the packaging industry, which he majored in at Michigan State, and plans to go into the business in the future. The growing industry looks to cut shipping costs on products and is commonplace in the food and medical fields. “There’s so many different areas you can get into, it’s crazy. I enjoy the science behind it. It was a great major for me to choose and the possibilities are endless.”
Football runs in the bloodlines of the Celek family. Garrett’s older brother, Brent, played tight end for the Philadelphia Eagles. Growing up, the brothers were constantly involved in athletics. “My dad was always pushing us just to be into sports. As long as we were doing something and we were having fun with it, he was the happiest guy in the world,” Garrett said. He didn’t begin playing football until high school, but Brent’s success became motivation for him. “He got a scholarship to Cincinnati my freshman year in high school,” Garrett said. “Right then I had my goals set. I’ve got to do what my brother did. Honestly, I’ve been trying to follow in his footsteps and because of him I’m here today. I wouldn’t be who I am without him.”
As part of the 49ers annual Thanksgiving celebrations, Celek and his teammates visited Cityteam San Jose to serve a holiday feast to over 300 people in need. Guests enjoyed turkey along with all of the usual holiday sides, while getting to know the 49ers.
Along with former teammates TE Vance McDonald and DT Tank Carradine, visited Haiti in conjunction with Convoy of Hope during the 2015 offseason, working together to teach healthy eating habits and sustainable agriculture techniques to local families. “We’ve been to an orphanage, we’ve been to a farm, we’ve been to schools. It’s a beautiful country and these are beautiful people. I’m glad I had this opportunity.”
Along with some of his teammates, Celek headed to San Francisco in October of 2015 to kick off Fleet Week aboard the USS Somerset. During the afternoon on board, Celek participated in drills with the troops, took a tour of the ship, ate dinner with the crew and watched as some local Bay Area natives were sworn into the Navy. “It’s just good to give back to some of these guys because they do so much for us,” said Celek at the time. “We’re all really appreciative of who they are and what they’re about.” In 2016, Celek was honored as the 49ers Salute to Service Award winner for his efforts to honor and support U.S. service members, veterans and their families.