DeKALB – Northern Illinois University’s connection to the local community and DeKalb County run deep, and those ties, as well as NIU President Doug Baker’s continuing emphasis on maintaining and building the “communiversity” connection, are the inspiration behind the 2014 Corn Fest jerseys that the Huskie Football team will wear in the 2014 season opener on Aug. 28 at Huskie Stadium.
In addition to recognizing the region’s agricultural roots, the special Corn Fest jerseys will be auctioned online to benefit three local causes. Proceeds from the auction will be split among the Voluntary Action Center of DeKalb, Boy Scout Troop 33, and the Canaday Family, a local family whose eighth-grade son, Christopher, was born with pulmonary atresia and has had 34 surgeries during his young life. Christopher’s father, Mark, an NIU employee, is also battling esophageal cancer.
The Voluntary Action Center serves DeKalb through myriad programs, including Meals on Wheels, which provides hot meals to the elderly, disabled and homebound, while their TransVAC and MedVAC services provide rides for senior citizens, the disabled and the general public. The Center also works with TAILS Humane Society to make sure that seniors’ pets are well fed.
Boy Scout Troop 33 participates in many fundraising events in the DeKalb area, and uses the money raised to travel around the country to help people in need. In addition to local activities – like their service during Corn Fest, when they stay after the events each night to clean up – they have been to the communities damaged by natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes.
Fans can bid on the jerseys online by clicking the link on the Corn Fest website at www.cornfest.com. The only way to obtain one of the special jerseys is through the online auction site. Bidding will close at 10 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 5.
NIU Head Coach Rod Carey said he is happy that Huskie Football can be involved with promoting an event like Corn Fest and helping worthy causes in the community.
“Partnering with the community is always important, so when Lisa Angel and her group at Corn Fest brought us this opportunity, we couldn’t say no,” Carey said. “They introduced us to the Canaday family and just knowing their story, I couldn’t think of a better family and cause. Mark and Christopher will be our honorary captains for this game and we’ll be honored to have them with us.
“Then you talk about the Voluntary Action Center and the Boy Scouts. Groups like these are what make our community tick. They do so much for other people in this community and for Corn Fest, and we are just trying to do our part to be good partners and good citizens.”
“The groups that will benefit from this auction are people that go above and beyond for Corn Fest and for this community,” Corn Fest chairman Lisa Angel said. “Boy Scout Troop 33 has helped clean up at the end of every night of the fest for the last seven years. By recycling aluminum cans collected there, they earn money to fund their trips to help others. I can't think of a better way to help them.
“Voluntary Action Center offers seniors and people with disabilities free transportation from their homes to the fest, and offers free historical tours at Corn Fest. It helps make the seniors feel a part of this community event."
Angel is employed by Shaw Media, owner of The MidWeek.
Tickets to the NIU-Presbyterian game, and to every home game this season, are on sale at www.NIUHuskies.com or by calling 815-753-PACK (7225). Single game tickets on the West Side of Huskie Stadium are priced at $40, $36 and $25 each, depending on the location, with discounts available for senior citizens and groups of 25 or more. Members of the NIU Alumni Association, senior citizens and NIU faculty and staff receive a $15 discount on every season ticket.