Bears fans flock to Tillman, Community Hospital open house
By Carole Carlson firstname.lastname@example.org June 10, 2014 6:56PM
Children, parents and fans line the halls of the new Intermediate Care Unit to see and get autographs from Chicago Bears Charles "Peanut" Tillman in Munster on June 8, 2014. | Jim Karczewski/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 12, 2014 6:09AM
MUNSTER — Stephen Dunne met one of his idols Sunday and pronounced it “awesome.”
Stephen, 10, of Kouts, and his mother, Kim Dunne, were among the guests at Community Hospital’s new Parkview Tower open house where Chicago Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman met fans and signed autographs.
Stephen, a sixth-grader at Kouts Elementary, said he’s been a lifetime Bears fan and Tillman is his favorite defensive player. He clutched a small autographed football and a photograph of Tillman as his souvenirs for his bedroom that’s painted in Bears orange.
Marie Forszt, Community Hospital’s director of marketing and communications, said Parkview Tower has three floors dedicated to its obstetrics unit and one floor designed for intermediate care for patients with serious ailments such as congestive heart failure.
The patients will all have private rooms in the new six-floor $34 million building. Forszt said the addition brings the number of beds in the hospital at 427.
She said the intermediate care unit should open on July 1, followed by the family birthing center on July 8.
The hospital offered tours Sunday, but the main attraction was Tillman, an 11-year veteran and two-time Pro Bowl selection, who recently was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year. The award recognizes Tillman’s charitable work through his Cornerstone Foundation and other philanthropic endeavors.
Felicia Vivian, of Burns Harbor, brought her three young children to meet Tillman, but she made it clear that she’s the big Bears fan in the family.
“This is my first time meeting a player,” she said showing more excitement than her kids, decked out in Bears T-shirts.
Brian Beck, of Portage, said he’s a lifelong Bears fan and wanted to meet Tillman and get an autograph. “I don’t have a favorite, the whole team is my favorite,” he said.