By John Ostapkovich

By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Sixers open their regular season Wednesday night against the champion Heat, but a longer view was part of a team appearance yesterday in Center City.

While coach Brett Brown told fans in the lobby of the Independence Blue Cross tower that this will be a building year for his team, the Sixers also honored a few members of the long volunteer arm of Blue Cross, the Blue Crew with over 2,000 members.

Foundations Manager Sheila Hess said, “A lot of it is something that’s contagious. Once our employees do it once, they go back and want to do more.”

Hess says the Blue Crew has been active since 2001.

“It’s an on-going type of project that we do for these non-profits and truly make a difference. We get more out of it personally as a volunteer than probably what we’re able to give back. It’s just such a rewarding, fulfilling opportunity.”

Some of the Crew got t-shirts but clearly the main reward is on the inside.