Meadows Turkey Bowl in Medina sets record for fundraising, helps veteran with brain injury

MEDINA, Ohio - The bitter cold and a snow-covered backyard didn't stop football players and friends from battling it out on Thanksgiving morning.

In fact, this was the most successful year for the Meadows Turkey Bowl, which celebrated its eighth year as a major fundraiser for the St. Vincent DePaul Society.

"We set a record of $158,000 and it's a group of guys who've come together to help the neediest of the needy," said Mike Meadows, who organizes the event each year.

Tim Burke, of Medina, also raised more than $5,000 for Tommy Waskey, an army veteran from Litchfield. He was seriously injured by a roadside bomb while working security detail in Iraq in 2003.

Waskey, 30, suffered a traumatic brain injury, a cervical spine injury and continues to deal with post-traumatic stress disorder.

"Once you damage your brain and you damage your spinal cord, those are things you can't fix," Waskey said.

His wife recently had heart surgery and the family, which includes four daughters, has fallen on tough financial times.

Burke, who is also part of the Northeast Ohio Foundation for Patriotism, was honored to help the family.

"They're the heroes and if there's something we can do in a small way through Mike Meadows and the Turkey Bowl, we're very happy to help," Burke said.

Waskey doesn't know any of the players and was extremely touched by their generosity.

"When you have complete strangers put their hearts out, not just their checkbooks, but they put their heart in what they believe in, it really hits home," Waskey said.

Meadows estimates the Turkey Bowl has raised more than $600,000 for charity over the years.

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