Chicago Bears to donate $50,000 to tornado relief

Chicago Bears' check presentation
July 10, 2014

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Chicago Bears playing in Pioneer Stadium
Chicago Bears playing in Pioneer Stadium

Updated July 11, 2014

PLATTEVILLE, Wis. — A relationship that started in 1984 continued on Friday as the Chicago Bears donated $50,000 to the Pioneer Relief Fund at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. Brian McCaskey, senior director of business development and member of the Chicago Bears board of directors, presented the check on behalf of the organization during an afternoon gathering of more than 150 at Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.

An EF-2 tornado significantly damaged five university buildings and the stadium, where the Bears practiced for 18 years, from 1984-2001. This summer marks the 30th anniversary of their first training camp in Southwest Wisconsin.

“It’s nice to be back. I’m just sorry it’s under these conditions and these circumstances,” McCaskey said, “But it’s great to see people come together under times of adversity. Mike Ditka once gave us all a Christmas gift. It was a crystal bear, and on it was engraved the words, ‘tough times don’t last, but tough people do.’ It’s great to see this campus and this community come together in these tough times. Platteville and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville have always held a special place in Bears history.”

He presented the $50,000 check to Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Dr. Mittie N. Den Herder and Assistant Chancellor for Advancement and Executive Director of the UW-Platteville Foundation Dennis Cooley as well as three from the university who worked so closely with the Bears during their 18 years: Curt Fatzinger, Deb Putnam and Steve Zielke.

The Pioneer Relief Fund was established to support students and displaced faculty and staff affected by the tornado with needs such as food and/or water, temporary housing, clothing and other supplies.

“When the Bears left campus in 2001, they donated $250,000, which was used for the computer labs in what was then our brand-new student center,” said Den Herder. “Today, the Bears’ Den is still a focal point for the university and has benefitted tens of thousands of students. To now have the Bears’ organization come back to help us once again is truly an inspiring gesture.”

With Friday’s donation, the Pioneer Relief Fund now includes $75,947.

“It’s really the people who make this place go,” Cooley said. “That’s why the Pioneer Relief Fund was created, to assist our students, our friends and our co-workers who have been negatively impacted by the storm. We are overwhelmed by this gift from Mr. McCaskey and the Chicago Bears. Our business relationship may have ended more than a decade ago, but the Bears continue to be one of our true partners.”


PLATTEVILLE­­­, Wis. — Brian McCaskey, senior director of business development and member of the Chicago Bears board of directors, will present a $50,000 check on behalf of the Chicago Bears to University of Wisconsin-Platteville officials Friday, July 11 at 2 p.m. in Ralph E. Davis Pioneer Stadium.

The Bears, who called UW-Platteville their summer home from 1984-2001, are making the donation to the Pioneer Relief Fund to aid campus tornado victims of a June 16 storm. The press conference is open to the public.

An EF-2 tornado significantly damaged five university buildings and the stadium, where the Bears practiced for 18 years. This summer marks the 30th anniversary of their first training camp in Southwest Wisconsin.

The Pioneer Relief Fund is being used to support students and displaced faculty and staff affected by the storm with needs such as food and/or water, temporary housing, clothing and other supplies.

UW-Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields has declared Friday Orange and Blue Day in honor of both organizations. He encourages everyone to wear the colors the university and the Bears share.

Those attending the Friday presentation must enter from Markee Drive, where the visitors’ bleachers used to be before being destroyed in the storm.

Media members wishing to attend should contact the UW-Platteville Public Relations office at (608) 342-1194 or pr@uwplatt.edu.

For more information on the tornado, visit the UW-Platteville website at http://www.uwplatt.edu.

Written by: Paul Erickson, UW-Platteville University Information and Communications, (608) 342-1194, ericksop@uwplatt.edu

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