Inside The Bills

Fan stories from Atwal Father’s Day contest

Posted by on June 19, 2016 – 9:46 am

The Buffalo Bills and Atwal Eye Care are proud to announce the runner up winners of our annual Father’s Day Contest!

Congratulations to Joshua Bates, Stephen LoGrasso, Jr. and Joseph Cardinale, whose Bill-themed father/child memories earned them each one autographed mini helmet!

Joshua Bates:

Christmas Eve, 2011 – the Bills were playing Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos. The tickets were a Christmas present for my son and myself from my Brother-in-law, and it was going to be my son’s first ever Bills game! Unfortunately, the day before the game my son woke up sick and was sick all day. But, he was determined to head to the Ralph and root for his team, so that morning we woke up early and made the 3 hour trek to Buffalo. Not wanting to let his illness get the best of him, we tailgated with grilled cheese and tomato soup and made our way into the stadium. We managed to make it through the first quarter, but midway through the second quarter I noticed he wasn’t looking too hot. We scrambled to the bathroom (the longest trip of my life) and made it just in time. Looking at my little trooper’s face as he turned pale and green, we both knew our trip was over. We headed to the gates and were half way across the parking lot when the stadium erupted as the Bills scored a touchdown. We made it to the car and I turned on the radio as we started our long journey home. John Murphy described the thumping we gave the Broncos our entire trip home! Looking in my rear view mirror at my son as he was trying to sleep, I felt terrible that his first Bills game was such a disaster. But, as I pulled in the driveway and scooped him out of the car, he sleepily says to me, “Awesome game Dad.” I will never forget that day with my little Bills fan!

Stephen LoGrasso, Jr.:

Having been on active duty army for 8 years and being so far away, I passed my love for the Buffalo Bills down to my son Ayden by having him keep me informed on our team. During my last deployment, Ayden told me he needed a jersey so he could be just like me on gamedays. I bought him his favorite player’s jersey, and ever since we have had a great Sunday tradition. We do our touchdown dance together every time we score and every Sunday he wakes me up at 7am so we can get ready and I can do his hair with our team colors and get our jerseys on and make our snacks. We then take our game day selfie and go throw the pigskin around till about 15 minutes to kickoff. He now has a hard time deciding on Watkins and Tyrod as his favorite player but the emotion he has, it makes me proud to have him as my gameday partner and cannot wait to take him to his first game this year when we return home for the first time in 5 years.

Joseph Cardinale:

David Marciniak is not my father, but I think you should hear his story. Back in 2008-2009 I was privileged to meet such a great man. He was an extremely hard worker in the Catholic Health System, a dedicated missionary for St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy on the East side of Buffalo, and a loving husband and father to nine (9 – yes you read that correctly!) children. Oh yeah, he is a grandfather to four as well! He would always be smiling or cracking jokes throughout the house regardless of the situation. I remember one time he told me that he enjoyed the chaos of the house. He wouldn’t fret over the spilled milk on the rug, old crayons and toys stuffed in the couch, or the children bickering over who was going to be using the computer next. We would regularly get together for Sabres and Bills games and share memories. We would tell stories and get into sports debates and other things such as faith. He was almost like a second father to me. What was truly amazing was that no matter how busy his schedule was he would always find time to have date night with the love of his life Michelle. Recently, David and the rest of the Marciniak family experienced a major tragedy. Michelle, his loving wife, unexpectedly had a hemorrhagic stroke and had surgery to remove a mass that was found on her brain. This has left her unable to speak and with limited mobility. She has endured so much, and it’s just the beginning. David and his family have a tough road ahead. What is even more amazing is his attitude about the entire situation. He said “Let’s not be sad that one journey has ended, let’s be thankful that another journey has begun!” Recently, he has started plans to alter their house so that Michelle can get around easier. I know Dave would appreciate being recognized. His entire family would be thrilled!

We hope that they and all Bills fans enjoy a wonderful Father’s Day weekend. For a look at our grand prize winner, watch the video below:

Posted in Inside the Bills, Off the Field
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