Linebacker LaMarr Woodley made Christmas a lot brighter for 100 kids at the Homewood-Brushton YMCA. Woodley, through his foundation, hosted a Christmas Eve party for the kids, complete with Santa Claus and gifts.
“Doing it on Christmas Eve was the best time, helping people out at the holidays,” said Woodley. “It’s a great time. I love to see other people smile and being happy on Christmas and me just sitting back and enjoying their similes.
“You want everybody to have a great Christmas. It’s tough times right now. Helping someone out on Christmas Eve, I know what that feeling can be like.”
Tags: LaMarr Woodley
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The Steelers hosted the NFL Punt, Pass & Kick qualifiers for kids ages 6-15 from across Pennsylvania and West Virginia Sunday morning at the UPMC Sports Performance Complex. The kids, who competed in five age divisions for boys and girls, each had the opportunity to punt, pass and kick with the top scorer in each group crowned team champion and eligible for the National Championships, which will be held during an AFC playoff game. All of the competitors are being recognized at halftime of today’s game when they will perform a passing exhibition.
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LaMarr Woodley and Ziggy Hood will host a toy drive on Monday, Dec. 9 from 5-7 p.m. at The Mall at Robinson. The players will sign autographs in exchange for the donation of a new, unwrapped toy (valued at $10 or more) to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UMPC’s Child Life Department. The toy drive will be located on the upper level of The Mall at Robinson, near Macy’s, and all toys and any additional donations from the two-hour event will benefit Children’s, a nationally recognized pediatric hospital. One autograph item per person and one autograph per player please. No photographs with the players.
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As a part of a season-long program the Steelers are honoring ATI Hometown Hero, Iraq War Specialist Chris Ohleger during today’s game. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal and the Combat Action Badge for his extraordinary efforts during combat missions.
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Former Steelers quarterback Charlie Batch hosted his 7th Annual In the Pocket on Monday night at Latitude 40 in Robinson Township.
The event, which benefits the Best of the Batch Foundation, brought some of his former teammates together to get competitive in games like pool, ping pong and new this year, bowling.
“It means a lot to have them come out to this,” said Batch. “It’s something that you talk about family when you are inside there, now that I am on the outside people still know what I am doing and what we have built over the years. To get that support is great and humbling, starting from Art Rooney to Kevin Colbert to the players it means so much that they believe in what we do.”
The event benefits the Foundation’s Reading and Computer Literacy Program, a program that serves over 2,000 kids in the Steel Valley each year.
“It’s a huge part of our foundation. Without the fundraiser we can’t have our computer lab,” said Latasha Wilson-Batch, the foundation’s executive director. “The money that comes in to us means we can give kids other resources to help improve reading and test scores. We have seen the kids study habits change by doing this, having the computer lab. We see differences in study habits, test scores and everything. Without this event, we wouldn’t be able to do such things for the children in the community.”
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A joint services swearing-in ceremony of new recruits took place at halftime, led by Lt. General William “Gus” Pagonis (Ret.), and included 10 recruits from the Marines, Army, Navy and Air Force. After they took their oath Pittsburgh singer Sputzy performed “America the Beautiful,” and the Air Force Heritage of America Band performed.
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As a part of Veterans Day celebration and the NFL’s Salute to Service, the Steelers honored Veterans of Foreign Wars, as well as a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor, prior to today’s game against the Bills.
The veterans stood on the field along with players during the National Anthem, and were given a huge, well-deserved ovation by the Heinz Field crowd.
The veterans honored included the following:
** Seaman First Class Alan Sanford who survived the attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941. Sanford was serving on the U.S.S. Ward when they were attacked and was one of the few able to fight back. He later went on to work for NASA and assisted the Air Force with training in Iran in 1980.
** Corporal Stephen Vukson served in the U.S. Army’s 83rd Chemical Mortar Battalion during World War II. Vukson, 92 years old, was honored in 2012 by the U.S. Army’s Chemical Corp Regimental Association with the Order of the Dragon, their highest award.
** Carpenters Mate Second Class Gene Rockacy, who will be 97 in December, served in the Pacific Theatre of World War II. As a Navy Seabee, he was sent to Dutch Harbor, in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska, then to the island of Saipan in the South Pacific.
** Corporal Andy Andrews, 80 years old, served in the U.S. Army’s 7th Division during the Korean War. While on combat patrol his Platoon was caught behind enemy lines and at 17 years old he was captured and spent 31 months as a POW. He has received the Combat Infantry Badge, nine Battle Stars and the POW Medal.
** Private First Class Weldon “Donnie” Luck served in the U.S. Army’s173rd Airborne Brigade during the Vietnam War. In April, 1971, he earned the Purple Heart during an intense battle in the central highlands of Vietnam. He was also awarded the Combat Infantry Badge.
** Sergeant First Class Bill Forristall served with the U.S. Army in the 10th Special Forces Group during Desert Storm. He performed combat search and rescue missions and became head of security over the Northern no fly zone. After 21 years of service, he was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge, Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal and Army Achievement Medal.
** Staff Sergeant Brian P. Dillon served with the U.S. Marine Corps during the Iraq War. Dillon served with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion 8th Marines in Iraq in 2004 during his first of four deployments. He was deployed in 2005 and 2007 with Fox Company, 2nd Battalion 6th Marines. In 2010 he was deployed with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion 6th Marines, to Marjah, Afghanistan. During his last tour he led over 120 combat patrols and earned a Bronze Star with Valor for his actions.
** Corporal Brandon Rumbaugh served with the U.S. Marines during the War in Afghanistan. Rumbaugh, who served with the 8th Marines, earned a Purple Heart when he stepped on an IED while coming to the aid of another Marine who lost both legs stepping on an IED. He also was awarded the Combat Action Ribbon and the Navy Commendation Medal for valor in combat.
Tags: Salute to Service
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Leading the Terrible Towel Twirl was Base Commander Huey Dietrich and veterans from the USS Requin Base.
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As part of Veterans Day celebration and the NFL’s Salute to Service active duty Army Sergeant Corrin Campbell sang the National Anthem prior to the Steelers-Bills game.
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As a part of a season-long program the Steelers are honoring ATI Hometown Hero, World War II Veteran and Purple Heart Recipient, Private First Class Dick McGowan.
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Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney and former Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy co-chaired the 16th Annual “Gala Pittsburgh Sports Night” at Heinz Field on Thursday night in conjunction with the North Side Friends and Neighbors and Diocese of Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik.
The annual event benefits Northside Catholic School, providing assistance to help those unable to meet the financial requirements for a Catholic education and to aid the school’s operation.
Pennsylvania Congressman Michael Doyle and Dr. Robert Paserba, Secretary for Catholic Education for the Diocese of Pittsburgh were honored as the 2013 North Side Hall of Fame Awardees.
Steelers’ players, including Jerricho Cotchery, Jonathan Dwyer, Bruce Gradkowski and Derek Moye, along with Steelers and Pirates alumni and local college athletes, were on hand signing autographs and meet guests. A silent and live auction also took place, highlighted a trip to see the Steelers play at Baltimore and a chance to throw out the first pitch at a Pirates game.
Tags: Bruce Gradkowski, Derek Moye, Jerricho Cotchery, Jonathan Dwyer
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Roethlisberger became the first non-law enforcement individual to be honored by the Amen Corner, receiving the award for his contribution to K-9 units of police and fire departments in the Pittsburgh area and throughout the country through his foundation.
“To be the first one outside of law enforcement to win this award it’s an awesome honor,” said Roethlisberger. “The award means a lot to my foundation.”
The luncheon annually honors a select group of police officers for their heroic actions, with 10 officers from the Western Pennsylvania area honored this year. Each of the law enforcement officers will receive a statuette, modeled after the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial near Heinz Field.
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David Malone, the President and CEO of Gateway Financial, was honored as the 2013 Thieman Awardee at the Magic of Mentoring Recognition event held at Heinz Field on Thursday night.
This event highlights mentoring and the 140 programs working to promote quality mentoring that supports youth in the community.
Steelers Chairman Dan Rooney, the founding chairman of the Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania, and safety Will Allen were on hand as Malone was honored.
“Most people would be happy just to own and operate an NFL franchise that has become the envy of every other sports franchise in the world,” said Malone. “Dan has decided that wasn’t enough and has to be involved in virtually everything in the community. Look at what he did with the Mentoring Partnership and United Way. We have all really benefitted from his involvement.”
Malone thanked the mentors in his life during his speech, and also shared a story that he once read that he related to mentoring, and the fact that what mentors do with today’s youth might not show until they become adults.
“If you plant the Chinese bamboo today and you water it and the next growing season you see nothing come out of the ground,” said Malone. “You keep watering it and for four years you see nothing happening. In the fifth year the bamboo grows 80 feet up in the air. The point is the work that they do sometimes is unrewarded for a long time. But what that bamboo was doing while it was dormant was growing its roots 80 feet into the ground so it could shoot up into the air.”
Tags: Mentoring Partnership of Southwestern Pennsylvania
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Photo Gallery: Check out more fun photos at Players 4 Kids Gala
Linebacker LaMarr Woodley and fullback Will Johnson were part of the Players 4 Kids Gala on Tuesday night at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh Downtown.
They teamed up with Pirates Manager Clint Hurdle, second baseman Neil Walker and centerfielder Andrew McCutchen, Penguins Head Coach Dan Bylsma, and Atlanta Braves pitcher Paul Maholm to benefit the Pittsburgh Kids Foundation.
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Fraley’s wish was to meet players and go to a game, which he will do on Sunday when the Steelers host the Baltimore Ravens at Heinz Field.
Fraley got to meet many of the players, including his favorite, linebacker LaMarr Woodley, who spent time talking with him near the end of practice and afterwards.
“He told me what they were doing out there,” said Fraley, who has muscular dystrophy. “It was cool having him come over and talk to me then. He is a good player. He is a good guy.”
Woodley said he was touched that meeting him was part of Fraley’s wish and he had a good time hanging out with him at practice.
“I came over during our last period when I wasn’t in there, spent some time with him while he was watching practice,” said Woodley. “I was telling him what was going on, who was out there on the field. He already knew, though. He knows his stuff.
“It’s a good feeling to do this. You are making an impact on people’s lives.”
Tags: LaMarr Woodley, Make-A-Wish
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