The Richmond Flying Squirrels, Double-A affiliate of the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, are pleased to announce a new partnership with M&T Bank and the Gerry Bertier #42 Foundation that will raise money for the Spinal Cord Injury Program at VCU’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Center. In the partnership, called “Walks for Walking” every time a Flying Squirrel is walked during a game this season, M&T Bank will donate $25 to the Gerry Bertier #42 Foundation, which raises funds for the Spinal Cord Injury Program. Funds will be used for spinal cord injury research and treatment.
Hugh Newton, President of M&T’s Central Virginia region, brought the three organizations together as way to raise awareness and funding.
“This is a natural partnership among like-minded organizations that really benefits the community,” Newton said . “If we can help one person to regain the ability to walk again, then this will be a success.”
The kick off of “Walks for Walking” is set to the Flying Squirrels’ season opener at The Diamond against the New Britain Rock Cats (Minnesota Twins) on Thursday, April 7th.
Gerry Bertier was a prominent Virginia high school All American football player. He is best known for his participation on the 1971 Virginia State Champion T. C. Williams High School team and their portrayal in the Disney film Remember the Titans. After the conclusion of the 1971 season, Bertier was involved in an automobile accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Despite this injury, Bertier remained an active athlete, participating in the Paralympics and winning multiple medals. Bertier was killed on March 20, 1981 at the age of 27 in a car crash. Today, the Gerry Bertier #42 Foundation is dedicated to raising money for research on spinal cord injuries.
“The Gerry Bertier #42 Foundation is an all volunteer foundation staffed by many of Gerry’s family members. We are dedicated to keeping the legacy started by Gerry of supporting the handicapped and those with spinal cord injuries alive. It is through the generosity of organizations like M&T Bank and The Richmond Flying Squirrels that makes this possible. On behalf of the Bertier family and the Bertier Foundation I would like to say to all of the great folks at M&T Bank, The Squirrels Organization and their fans THANK YOU for your willingness to support the “Walks for Walking” program.” Buck Sutton, President The Gerry Bertier #42 Foundation.
“We’re thrilled to take part in this great program,” said Flying Squirrels’ Vice President & COO Todd “Parney” Parnell. “Anytime we can use our platform and the fun that comes from the game of baseball, we are going to jump at that chance, and this was certainly no exception.”
“We are excited that the Richmond Flying Squirrels and M&T Bank are partnering for the “Walks for Walking” initiative to benefit the Gerry Bertier #42 Foundation” stated Dr. William McKinley, Director of Spinal Cord Injury Medicine at VCU Medical Center. “The Bertier Foundation has been a key supporter, over the last five years, of our commitment to change lives and restore hope for individuals with spinal cord injury at VCU. Our nationally ranked rehabilitation medicine program relies on great programs like this to generate awareness and fundraising to help us advance our clinical and research efforts.”
M&T’s Central Virginia headquarters is in Richmond. M&T Bank has more than 730 branches and 1,800 ATMs in Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
Individual game tickets for the Flying Squirrels’ 2011 season including Opening Day, April 7th, are on sale now. Season tickets and mini-plan packages are also available and can be purchased by calling (804) 359-FUNN (3866), visiting the Flying Squirrels Ticket Office at The Diamond or visiting SquirrelsBaseball.com.
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