Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Thanks and good luck, "Senator!"

It's not every morning that my daily media search for Red Cross mentions leads me to the sports section. So I was a little surprised this morning that entering "Red Cross" into the Buffalo News search engine led me to the article on the Buffalo Bills releasing Nick Barnett and George Wilson. But I shouldn't have been.

First, some quick background. In my previous career as a television sports producer, we called George Wilson "The Senator" because of his speaking skills. The safety was always one of our "go-to guys" in the Bills locker room because we know he would always answer our questions thoughtfully and respectfully. There are a number of sports reporters and broadcasters in Western New York whose jobs got a little more difficult now that Wilson is gone.

Former Bills safety George Wilson with Communications
Coordinator Jay Bonafede at Ralph Wilson Stadium
blood drive in December
But the media aren't the only people in town that will miss George Wilson. As the article above points out, he was named the team's Walter Payton Man of the Year twice for his work in the community. That work included serving as a spokesman for Red Cross blood drives at Ralph Wilson Stadium. I spoke with him at the drive in December, which brought in over 350 units of blood, and he could not have been more gracious.

Change is constant in the world of sports, and new players will come in to fill these spots on the Bills roster. But George Wilson (and Nick Barnett, whom we never dealt with but by all accounts is also a great guy) will be missed here in Western New York. We thank you for all you've done, and wish you luck in the future!

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