Following along the lines of "good" NFL stories this week (i.e. the Romo one.) Will be interesting to see the $ matched by Wilson next year if this guy shows up again.
Wilson matches $100,000 food drive gift
By Mark Gaughan NEWS SPORTS REPORTER
Updated: 09/13/08 6:43 AM
David and Myra Conley discovered on the spur of the moment that Buffalo Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr. is a man of his word during Sunday’s season opener against Seattle.
The Bills held their annual Fan Food Drive at Ralph Wilson Stadium to benefit the Food Bank of Western New York. Wilson annually matches all cash donations made at the stadium. Typically, those donations amount to about $12,000.
The Conleys, who live in East Amherst, surprised the Bills with a check for $100,000.
Conley owns Medlab Inc., a medical testing company in Cheektowaga. He had been thinking about donating to the Food Bank for several years, since he saw a news report that showed Wilson’s wife, Mary, on a forklift helping the charity distribute goods.
“My father-in-law, **** Sebian, is 84 years old, and since he retired he has been working for 22 years as a volunteer at the St. Vincent de Paul soup kitchen on Main Street,” Conley said. “He told me that this year, they’re doing twice the meals served that they were doing a year ago.
“So I heard on the news that Mr. Wilson was matching all the money that’s being collected. And I wondered, would he give $100,000? He might cap it. He would have that right.”
The Conleys showed up at the stadium about 10 minutes after the opening kickoff to drop off their check. They were ushered into the Bills’ administration building. Food Bank officials needed to check if Wilson would match.
“This is where it gets complicated,” Conley said. “Ralph’s policy is he’s never to be interfered with during Bills games. It’s an absolute no-no.”
Mary Wilson popped the question early in the second quarter, Conley said, and Wilson insisted on meeting the Conleys in his suite.
“He couldn’t have been more charming,” Conley said. “After the game I spoke to him for a pretty long time and I thanked him for his 40-plus years of service to Western New York. . . . He told me he was so pleased with the matching donation. He told me he loves Buffalo because the people are so down to earth.”
Counting the donations of the Conleys and Wilsons, the Fan Food Drive collected a record total of $219,178.08, in addition to donations of 6,287 pounds of food. “I said, ‘Ralph, next year are you going to cap it?’ ” Conley said. “He said, ‘No, I’m not.’ I said, ‘Ralph, you don’t know me. When you tell me it’s not capped for next year, I’m asking you to rethink it.’ He said, ‘No cap for next year.’ I said, ‘I’ll see you next year.’ ”