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Wilfork named Burton award winner

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Patriots nose tackle Vince Wilfork was recognized as the 2010 New England Patriots Ron Burton Community Service Award winner at the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation’s Annual Kickoff Gala tonight.

Wilfork was emotional during his acceptance speech, reflecting on the memory of his late parents, Barbara and David.

"The first thing I thought about was my parents and how proud they'd be of me," he told reporters afterwards. "It was like I was looking right at them in the crowd."

Wilfork was also lauded by Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

“Since joining the Patriots in 2004, Vince has been generous both with his time and his infectious smile,” Kraft said. "He has been a willing participant in community activities conducted by the Patriots Charitable Foundation and has done incredible work raising money for diabetes research through the Vince Wilfork Foundation.”

Wilfork, who lost his father to diabetes, has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for diabetes-related causes. His annual draft day fundraiser, a bowling event he has held for seven years, is one of the signature fundraising events held by a pro athlete in New England. He is also a strong supporter of charities that promote education and health for children, participating in multiple events related to children’s mentoring, education and physical fitness.