‘Bearons’ t-shirt honors Matt Nagy, benefits MCHS football

By on February 16, 2018

The gang’s all here… and proudly sporting Bearons T-shirts. Shown are (back row, left to right) Stacy Hondru, Kelly Ziegler, Justin Brubaker, Heidi Hollinger; (middle row) Macy Zeigler, Livy Oswald, Mya Zeigler; (front row, l-r) Jaxon Brubaker, Grayson Ziegler, and Cooper Brubaker, a.k.a. Batman. (Submitted photo)


Manheim is honoring one of its former Barons players who has made a name for himself in the NFL — Matt Nagy, who was named head coach of the Chicago Bears in January.

The tribute is in the form of a T-shirt that sports a unique design — the navy and orange colors of the Chicago Bears paired with the word “Bearons.”

Manheim resident and advertising account executive, Justin Brubaker, came up with the idea for the T-shirt. He explained that “Bearons” pays tribute to Nagy’s background as a Manheim Central Baron as well as his new position with the Bears.

“In my field, you’re always thinking about new concepts. This idea came to me as I was driving. I wanted to do something to pay tribute to Nagy’s career and to raise funds for an organization of his choice,” he explained.

Brubaker shared the design with some of Nagy’s best friends and family for approval. Nagy selected the Manheim Touchdown Club as the recipient of the funds.

“Shirts look great!” Nagy said via email. “Creative design. Takes me back to second period gym class with Coach Williams. It is for a terrific cause and hope they sell a bunch of shirts.”

Brubaker posted the T-shirt sale on Facebook, which quickly led to 137 orders for 260 shirts.

“Facebook was the easiest way to get it out to the masses. There was immediate interest, and it started snowballing. It was a bit overwhelming, so I’ve revised our sales process,” Brubaker said adding that the first batch of orders took quite some time for him and wife, Nicole, to process.

The first batch also included T-shirts provided to Nagy and his family, as well as an order from Bears owner Virginia McCaskey. She is the oldest daughter of Bears founder George Halas. Her late husband, Ed McCaskey, had a tie to Lancaster; he was the grandson of John Piersol McCaskey, a local songwriter and educator for whom J.P. McCaskey High School is named.

“Manheim Central head coach Dave Hahn called with the order, and I was pretty excited,” Brubaker said.

There’s now a dedicated online store at store.apexadv.com/barons. Cost of the T-shirts are $10. Credit cards are now accepted, and there’s no deadline for ordering T-shirts. Brubaker pointed out that the online store also features a travel mug that he and Nicole have sponsored; they’re also underwriting the cost of the site. Sales of the travel mug will also benefit the Touchdown Club.

Brubaker has been part of the Manheim community since 1999. He said he’s come to appreciate the Barons football team for not only their prowess on the field and dedication to the sport, but also for their community spirit.

The Brubakers can attest to that community outreach firsthand. Their son Jaxon, a second grade student at Doe Run Elementary School and a devoted Barons football fan, has suffered with health issues since birth. Jaxon was born prematurely and diagnosed with “failure to thrive.” As a toddler, he had a feeding tube for several years. He is also diagnosed with a rare form of dwarfism known as Saul Wilson Syndrome.

Over the summer, a mishap occurred during kidney surgery and Jaxon wound up spending 11 days in intensive care. After he came home, Barons head coach Dave Hahn and two players — captains, Jake Novak and Garret Fittery — visited Jaxon and presented him with an autographed football. Jaxon also served as honorary game captain on Oct. 6. Football season may be over by Jaxon already has something to look forward to for the fall; Brubaker said his son has been selected as a manager for the football team.

He spoke about the special relationship between the team and Jaxon at the football banquet.

“The team impacted my family, my son,” said Brubaker. “Everyone looks up to them, and they in turn have a positive impact on the community.”

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at RAASHENK@aol.com.

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