Special Guest Gets a ‘Chance of a Lifetime’

The Endeavor News

A special guest spent much of Sunday at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, where he met several members of his beloved Pittsburgh Steelers, received gifts and good wishes, and returned home with memories to last a lifetime.

Ronald Rees, formerly of Austin and Port Allegany, proudly displays the mementoes of last weekend’s trip in his room at Lakeview Nursing Home in Smethport.

It all transpired as the result of a casual conversation that planted a seed with a cable television executive in State College.

Ron, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis 12 years ago, had told his sister, Kim VanHorn, how much he would enjoy seeing a live Steelers game. Kim, who lives in Austin and works in State College, mentioned this in passing to Dave Heisler, director of field operations for Comcast.

That set the wheels in motion. Heisler connected with Chris Best, Comcast’s director of marketing communications, and she took it from there. In cooperation with the marketing department of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Best arranged for Ron to be a guest of the team as part of its “Chance of a Lifetime” program.

Making the trip with him on Sunday were daughters Kory and Jenna Rees, sisters Kim and Tammy Brundage Emerson and her husband Craig Emerson, nephew Greg Rees and caretaker Dave McIsaac.

Upon arrival, the group was greeted by a Steelers representative who proceeded to slip a Super Bowl ring on Ron’s finger. He was then was taken down on the field so that he could watch the players warm up.

Once on the field, he was given a football autographed by this year’s Steelers players, along with a hat and a “terrible towel.”

Ron was especially thrilled when his favorite player, wide receiver Hines Ward, introduced himself and signed his shirt. Shortly thereafter, wide receiver Mike Wallace trotted over to Ron and handed him one of his practice gloves.

“So many people came up to Ron and introduced themselves, asked if he was enjoying the day and to give him good wishes,” Kim related. “Like the name implies, it was truly an experience of a lifetime.”

The group watched the game from a suite, complete with complimentary food and beverages, and the Steelers came through with a victory.

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