Meet Rafer Weigel – A Great Friend of OCSA

OCSA Co-founder Vallie Szymanski and her husband Joe first met Rafer Weigel at a Bears Care Gala at Soldier Field in May of 2012 – the same year that our co-founder Susan Roman passed away from ovarian cancer. A very good conversation ensued regarding the OCSA Mission and our partnership with the veterinary community. Rafer graciously offered his assistance – “If you ever need my help with anything – please give me a call”. In 2014 we made that phone call and Rafer agreed to be the Honorary Chair of the Annual OCSA Golf Outing at Boulder Ridge Country Club in Lake in the Hills, IL. We were all very sad when he left for St. Louis but overjoyed that he has returned to Chicago, where he will once again be the Honorary Chair of 2018 Golf Outing.

Rafer 2014 golf outing

OCSA:  You have been an actor, a sportscaster and now you are a weekend news anchor for Fox 32 in Chicago – what is your true passion?

Rafer:  My true passion is news. I grew up in a household where we were required to read the newspaper. While other kids were reading comics, I was reading Mike Royko. It was where I developed my passion for Chicago news. I went into acting in high school because I found out I was good at it.  I pursued it early because I thought it was a natural career choice given my talents but I didn’t like the entertainment business.

I did sports because I wanted to follow in my father’s footsteps. After he passed away, I did just that because I felt a calling to carry the torch.  But that’s when I realized sports was his forte and news was mine.  Since moving to news I’ve never looked back or been happier.

Rafer Poster

OCSA:  Can you tell us about your experience at KTVI in St. Louis? We understand you won an Emmy for anchoring the station’s coverage of Ferguson.

Rafer: I was on the anchor desk when Officer Darren Wilson was found “not guilty” by a grand jury.  The city of Ferguson was practically burned to the ground.  My co-anchor and I had to guide the ship during 6 hours of coverage.  Our crews were dodging bullets from protesters and tear gas from police.  It was the most intense work experience I had ever had.  But many times because St. Louis is a smaller town, there wasn’t a whole lot that happened.  I remember one day, the big story was six steers had broken free from a slaughter house and were running through the streets of St. Louis being chased by police cruisers.  We had our chopper over it and everything.  At that point I realized I truly was working in a cow town and it was time to get back home to covering the city I am truly passionate about.

Rafer Headshot

OCSA:  Your father, Tim Weigel, was a beloved Chicago broadcaster who spent most of his time as a television sports anchor.  Can you tell us about him and the values he instilled in you?

Rafer:  My father was always grateful for his success and never took it for granted.  He greeted everyone exactly the same—from the security guard, to the mayor.  He was kind to everyone who came up to him.  I remember it used to bother me so much as a child when we would be trying to have lunch or enjoy a ball game as father and son and invariably people would come up and want to talk to him.  He would always remind me that I needed to be thankful to those people because that meant he was doing a good job and therefore, I had a roof over my head.

Since then whenever a person comes up to talk to me that recognizes me I always ask them, “what’s your name?”  That’s what he did and it always made the folks feel special.  If they take the time to pay me a compliment the least I can do is ask them their name so I can thank them personally.

OCSA:  You have a big heart and graciously give of your time and talent to a variety of charities – what inspires you to do this?

Rafer: I also learned from my father the importance of giving back and using this platform as a way to make a positive difference in people’s lives outside of the industry.  God put me in this position for a reason and it’s my responsibility to honor that by spreading goodwill.  It’s a duty that comes with the position and one I embrace happily.

Rafer Golf Outing

OCSA Update

3rd Annual Golf Outing
OCSA 2014 Golf Outing
The 3rd Annual Golf Outing is coming up on Monday! Make sure you purchase your tickets for a day of golfing fun with OCSA.

WHERE: Pheasant Run in St. Charles (4051 East Main Street, St. Charles IL 60174)

WHEN: Monday, June 22, 2015 from 8:00 am – 6:00 pm

8:00 am — Registration
9:30 am — Shotgun Start and 4 Person Scramble
3:00 pm — Cocktails, Dinner & Silent Auction

: Each year, over 20,000 women in the U.S. are diagnosed with ovarian cancer and approximately 14,000 women die from the disease. When ovarian cancer is diagnosed and treated in its earliest stages, the survival rate is over 90%. OCSA’s mission is to expand public awareness about the symptoms of ovarian cancer in an effort to contribute to the early detection of this deadly disease, and by doing so, save lives.

Standard Registration (until June 20th):
$500 — Foursome
$135 — Single Golfer Registration Includes 18 holes of golf, lunch, dinner & beverages
$45 — Dinner Only
Click here to purchase tickets!

If you cannot attend, please consider a donation. All proceeds will be donated to OCSA. The Ovarian Cancer Symptom Awareness Organization is a Section 501 (c) (3) charitable organization. Donations to OCSA are deductible as a charitable gift.

 OCSA Champion
The OCSA One Health Champion for June is Dr. Rosemary LoGiudice. Read about all of her incredible accomplishments on our Facebook page and stay tuned for a Q&A on the OCSA blog next week!
OCSA Restaurant of the Month
We are very excited to have Cyrano’s on the River as our June Restaurant of the Month. Enjoy the Claude Monet Burger A Cheval ($15) or Steak Pommes Frites with Red Wine-Shallots Butter ($20) and 15% of the profits will benefit OCSA. Read more about the June Restaurant of the Month here.
Cyrano's On the River Photo

 June 19, 2015: Bridgestone Health & Wellness Fair
Join OCSA at the Bridgestone Health & Wellness Fair on Friday, June 19th at 333 East Lake Street in Bloomingdale, IL. The event will be held from 11:30AM to 1:30PM. Come visit OCSA at our booth!

August 1, 2015: Gateway Veterinary Clinic 30th Anniversary Open House
More details to follow

 OCSA 5K Dog Walk & Fun Run on September 13, 2015
Join OCSA at one of two locations for its annual 5K Dog Walk and Fun Run! Registration begins at 8:30AM with Opening Ceremonies at 9:30AM. Tickets are $35 for adults, $25 for students, $20 for children and $10 for scouts and include a t-shirt, poop bag dispenser and Teal OCSA leashes for the participating pooches.

Bunker Hill Forest Preserve: Touhy and Harts Road, Niles, IL 60714
Register today HERE!

Leroy Oakes Forest Preserve: 37W700 Dean Street, St. Charles, IL 60175
Register today HERE!

133rd Annual ISVMA Convention – October 23-25, 2015, Springfield, IL
Our friends at the ISVMA have invited OCSA Board Member Kristin Junkas, DVM, to conduct a one-hour lunch and learn presentation on Sunday, October 25, 2015 at the ISVMA Convention at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield, IL. She will reveal how she practices the One Health concept on a daily basis in her practice. The lecture will be part of the Continuing Education (CE) that is routinely offered at the convention.