Hours before the Bears kicked off against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, a tragic scene unfolded in a downtown bar, when a Bears fan was stabbed to death for allegedly talking with the suspect’s wife. The man was 42-year-old William “Christopher” Pettry, who had traveled to Jacksonville to attend the Bears game later that day.
During his press conference Monday, Head Coach Lovie Smith expressed his condolences and sent prayers to the family Pettry left behind: his wife and three children.
Just days after the attack, Bears tight end Kellen Davis, who along with his marketing team, is leading charity efforts to aid Pettry’s widow and children, as Pettry was his family’s sole provider. Davis set up a page on YouCaring.com on which anyone can donate to help Pettry’s family. So far, Davis’ efforts have raised $8,551, while another page dedicated to Pettry has raised almost $13,000.
In addition, Davis is holding a fundraiser at John Barleycorn – Wrigleyville on Saturday at which items including Bears memorabilia will be auctioned off for the family’s benefit. According to ESPNChicago.com, former Bears players Tommie Harris, who lost his wife in February, and Jason McKie, whose son played football with one of Pettry’s children, are scheduled to attend the fundraiser, among other Bears players.
“Family life is so precious and to think that a life was taken like that, it’s just not right,” McKie told ESPNChicago.com. “We want to help the family out any way we can. I mean, who is going to help this family take care of their bills now that the main provider is gone? And to leave a wife like that with children, it’s tragic. Bears players, past and present, want to show our support.”
That support is what sets Bears players apart from their NFL counterparts. Obviously, Davis is doing a great thing by helping this family in need. He didn’t have to take time out of his schedule and family during the busy season to head a fundraising effort, but he saw a need bigger than his own. Bears players have a history of being involved and giving back to the community, and they set an admirable example, going above and beyond the duties of professional athlete to aid the family of one of their many loyal supporters.