Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Coach Bielema Runs New Play
On Saturday night, Maureen and I attended the annual Wine & Roses fundraiser for the Alzheimer's & Dementia Alliance of Wisconsin at Nakoma Country Club. The non-profit, for which I serve on the Board of Directors, auctioned off a wide array of goods and vacation packages.
We returned to the back room of the auction after filling our glasses, only to see a different auctioneer up there hawking a private box at the Badger football game. I looked closer and said to Maureen, "Isn't that Bielema, the head coach?"
"Yeah, it is," she said.
I had no idea he was going to be part of this event because it was never mentioned at our Board meeting. When I later asked our Executive Director, Paul Rusk, he said. "I didn't know anything about it, either!"
It turns out Bielema was having dinner with his new wife at Nakoma and realized one of his friends was attending the Alzheimer's Alliance function. Then, he found out the widow of late UW football coach Dave McClain, Judy McClain Mauerman, was our keynote speaker. Now remarried, she suffers from the disease, but still communicates clearly and effectively. Bielema volunteered two tickets from his private suite, as well as sideline passes, to help raise money to support Wisconsin Alzheimer's patients like Judy.
When the auctioneer was about to offer up the coach's private suite, Bielema apparently decided to handle the task himself! He stepped up to the mike as if he did this all the time, and did a phenomonal job in rapid-fire mode. In just a few minutes, the coach raised $3,000 for the two tickets, which went to Shelley and Mike Muranyi.
Imagine the serendipity of holding a fundraiser at the same place where one of the most well-known figures in the city happens to be having dinner. Good luck and a great play for an important cause.
(Thanks to Bill Pielsticker for the photo.)