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Titans, LP Host Bash of the Titans Benefit for Big Brothers Big Sisters

Posted May 22, 2013

The Titans and LP Building Products teamed to raise more than $75,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans and LP Building Products teamed to host Bash of the Titans benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee on Tuesday at LP Field.

The event raised more than $75,000 that will provide a big boost for the mentorship program that positively affects young people and the adults who volunteer their time each week to build encouraging relationships.

Titans players, including Kamerion Wimbley, welcomed guests to the locker room as part of the Bash of the Titans that benefited Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee. Click here for a slideshow.

Ralph Ockenfels, Titans vice president of marketing, said the Titans were “thrilled with the great turnout for the charity event” because of the “powerful benefit that mentoring programs can bring to kids in the area.”

Ockenfels and Titans coach Mike Munchak have previously enjoyed volunteering as Big Brothers, and defensive end Derrick Morgan and former Titans/Oilers great Blaine Bishop benefited from being Little Brothers during their youth.

“It’s a celebration of our partnership with LP that goes beyond LP Field and is helping the Nashville community, which is very important to the Titans,” Ockenfels said. “To have an event like this and be able to have such a successful night of fundraising for Big Brothers Big Sisters and hear so many cool stories on how it’s such a great mentoring program to help young children in the community, it’s just fantastic to be a part of it.”

The special evening included a talk with Titans general manager Ruston Webster and Munchak that was led by “Voice of the Titans” Mike Keith, a tour of the locker room where seven players greeted attendees, the opportunity to take the field for green screen photos with a jersey and appear on the Titantron video board, dinner and a silent auction.

In addition to talking about the offseason moves made by the Titans with the coaching staff and in free agency and the draft, Munchak described how much he enjoyed being a Big Brother and encouraged others to become a ‘Big’ and thanked everyone for their participation in the fundraiser.

Munchak grew up with five sisters and raised two daughters, but volunteered as a Big Brother for two young men for about a dozen years in Houston.

“I spoke at an event like this and saw the relationship these guys have with the kids and it really moved me,” Munchak said. “I can’t encourage you enough. If you have the time, it’s a great, great program. You can make a huge difference in someone’s life.”

Morgan, Jake Locker, Marc Mariani, Colin McCarthy, Jason McCourty, Delanie Walker and Kamerion Wimbley signed action shots, posed for pictures and talked about the offseason with the guests.

Locker said the event was “an awesome opportunity to go out and say thank you to our fans and stand behind something that does a great job like Big Brothers Big Sisters.”

“Any time we get a chance to meet our fans, and especially in this situation with different people giving back to Big Brothers Big Sisters for such a great cause is just a cool experience,” McCourty said. “To know at one point, we were all just little kids looking for guidance, it’s a matter of people providing that for them, and whatever part we can do to help that, I’m excited about it.”

Mary Walker with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Middle Tennessee said she was impressed when she met the Titans players. She went to thank them and said that they instead thanked her for the opportunity to help. Walker said the organization’s goal is to make sure that every child who wants and needs a mentor has one. She said the funds will cover the costs of pairing young people with adults.

“When someone applies to be a Big Brother or Big Sister or a mother applies to have her child be a Little, we do an intensive interview at the home of the mom or the caregiver of a child,” Walker said, “and then the volunteer goes through even more of an intensive interview with a criminal background check, three to five references, a motor vehicle check.”

Walker said most Little Brothers and Sisters are from single-parent homes that live in or near poverty, and the organization provides guidance with a support team that coaches the Big, the Little and the parent or caregiver of the young person for the duration of the placement. Walker said survey results indicate that the child’s sense of well-being, acceptance of themselves and parental trust improve and the likelihood of risky behaviors decreases from participation in the program.

Heartfelt testimony from Big Brother Carlos and his Little Brother CJ made an impression on all attendees. The two described how they’ve been able to build a relationship that’s helped the young man who is growing up without the presence of his father. One of their favorite activities is talking about life while they throw a football.

Rick Olszewski, executive vice president of sales and marketing with LP, said the event was a way to build on the strong relationship of LP Field and help formation of other important relationships across the community.

The groundwork began last year when the Titans hosted a similar event to help Olszewski’s fundraising campaign in which he was named the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year for 2012. Ockenfels said the event will likely choose a different charitable organization each year.

“I’m just delighted that LP can be involved in this and see the support in the community for a great organization like Big Brothers Big Sisters,” Olszewski said. “It’s just awesome to see all the people here that are supporting this and see this event grow. The community outreach and generosity of the Titans is quite humbling.”

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