PUNXSUTAWNEY — For Dan Prutznal, it can be tough being a Green Bay Packers fan in Steelers Country.
“Last week, someone brought in a copy of Sports Illustrated, and in the cafeteria, where I eat lunch with the kids, I held it up,” showing a piece about the Packers, he said. “The kids were just hollering: ‘Boo, Packers,’ ‘I don’t like the Packers.’ Every time they see me ... it’s all in good fun.”
Thursday, it was all for a good cause, as Prutznal, an employee at SS.C.D. School, honored his challenge to students: For every $25 they raised for the Make-A-Wish Foundation’s “Light Up a Child’s Life” campaign, he would don one item of Pittsburgh Steelers apparel.
So at lunch Thursday, Prutznal — also known as “Dan the Packers Fan” — made good on his word and donned eight pieces of Steelers swag, representing $200 students raised for Make-A-Wish.
That included items brought in by students and staff, notably a No. 92 James Harrison jersey; a T-shirt underneath; a ball cap; a box of Steelers’ Kleenex; a huge blanket; and of course, the world-famous Terrible Towel, among other items.
Not only did Prutznal make good on his word, he reminded the students what the challenge was all about.
“After I got decorated, I told them it’s not about Steelers football or Packers football; it’s for children, to give them an opportunity to go to Disney World or to have a nice vacation,” he said.
“The kids got all wound up,” he said. “It was all for a good cause.”
The idea for Prutznal’s challenge originally came from SS.C.D. Principal Jessica Newcome.
“She said, ‘I have a good idea for Make-A-Wish: How about you dress up in Steelers clothes?’” he recalled. “I said, ‘No, it’ll ruin my image.’ But then I told her I would.”
Prutznal had only one fan in the lunch crowd: Daughter Maggie, who is a seventh-grader at SS.C.D.
“Dan was a really good sport,” Newcome said. “The kids chanted, ‘Go Steelers!’ for most of lunch and recess. Of course, he was egging them on.”
The “Light Up a Child’s Life” campaign concludes today, beginning at 6 a.m. at Fezell’s County Market, followed by all-day coverage live on WPXZ-FM from the lobby of the Pantall Hotel.
The auction runs from 3 p.m. until whenever, when a grand total for this week’s campaign will be revealed.