When Roxborough resident Keith Conroy’s aunt asked him to participate in North Light Community Center’s annual Super Bowl raffle ticket drawing, he didn’t think twice.
It was a routine donation that he had made for three consecutive years, but never in a million years did he think he would win.
For him, it was just enough to help an organization that has provided so many kids, including himself, with a safe environment to learn and have fun. Growing up, Conroy played basketball and hockey at the Manayunk community center.
So when he learned that he won a $14,000 trip to the 47th Super Bowl featuring the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers, he jumped for joy. He said he literally jumped as high as he could.
The drawing took place during half-time of the Philadelphia Eagles game against the Tampa Buccaneers game on Dec. 9 at J.D McGillicuddy’s in Manayunk.
He had rushed over to the bar to get there in time because he was busy at home putting up the Christmas tree for his family. He said approximately four minutes after arriving, the bartender pulled the ticket out of the hat saying “you’ve got to be kidding me, Keith Conroy won.”
“My hands were shaking and I was so excited,” said Conroy. “I have three young children so it’s always something you want to do, but it’s something that is just not affordable to do.”
The first person he called was his friend Christopher Schmidt who had split the cost of the $100 raffle ticket with him. It took about 10 minutes for Conroy to convince him that they really won.
The VIP trip includes two tickets for seats near the 20 yard line, round trip airfare to New Orleans, hotel accommodations for five days, invitations to three parties or social events and a game day brunch with “special football guests.”
It was made possible through a donation by Don “Tolly” Tollefson founder of “Winning Ways,” an after-school program that focuses on career preparedness, anti-hatred and anti-violence for children between 8 and 15 years of age.
In addition to Conroy and Schmidt, eight kids from “Winning Ways” and three wounded warriors from the military will also be going on the trip.
With nearly a week to prepare for his trip, Conroy is getting excited about the three social events he selected which include golfing, river boating, and having lunch with retired players. He also hopes he will be able to meet retired New Orleans Saint Archie Manning or John Elway from the Denver Broncos.
“For $50, I am going on a $14,000 trip,” said Conroy. “It feels surreal. It’s like its not actually happening until I get on that plane.”
He continued to say that he is amazed by what Tollefson does for the kids because he really goes above and beyond to get the kids out of bad neighborhoods.
The raffle raised over $10,000 for the North Light Community Center.