Longtime Bears director of equipment Tony Medlin received a prestigious "Give a Hand Out to Give a Hand Up" athletic award last Saturday night from the Calahan Foundation.
Medlin was one of three individuals to be honored at the organization's 15th Annual Celebration of Giving Scholarship Benefit Gala in Tinley Park. The others were U.S. Representative Robin Kelley and Pastor Reginald W. Sharpe Jr.
"I'm honored," Medlin said. "There are so many people who are involved that make these moments happen. I'm just thankful to the McCaskey family and the Chicago Bears [for giving me] the opportunity to do the things that I do. It's very satisfying. It just keeps reminding me of how much people appreciate what we do."
Bears chairman George H. McCaskey attended the event to support Medlin.
The Calahan Foundation was founded in 2009 with a mission to Give a Hand Out to Give a Hand Up through scholarship awards, college mentorship and community outreach. Medlin and the two other award recipients were recognized because they embody the mission of the Foundation.
Medlin joined the Bears in 1987 and has headed the equipment department since 1997. He's responsible for coordinating all team equipment operations including logistics, purchasing and inventory for all players, coaches and staff.
Medlin also spearheads the Bears' annual coat drive. The coat drive was started by Gary Haeger, Medlin's predecessor, and the equipment department in 1989. After replacing Haeger in 1997, Medlin was determined to continue the initiative. Every year, tens of thousands of new and gently-used coats are donated and then distributed to those in need throughout the Chicago area.
A revered employee, Medlin won the Virginia McCaskey Award in 2017. The prestigious honor is given to a Bears staffer who has demonstrated the characteristics and values of Mrs. McCaskey: grace, humility, loyalty and dedication. The winner also is someone who not only exceeds the highest standards of achievement, but whose work sets them apart from co-workers.