SEATTLE — While Seattle may be the home of the Seahawks, Lake Stevens is home to some of the team’s biggest fans.
And four of those fans show their devotion to the team by what they drive to Sunday home games.
Justin Reid, Bob Eaton, Jim Brady and Solon Scott drive a decked-out Winnebago — in Seahawk midnight blue, bright green and white — to the games for three reasons: to watch the Seahawks, have some fun and raise money and awareness for cystic fibrosis.
The 12th Man Trailer began in 2006 as four Lake Stevens friends and neighbors converted a 1975 Bell trailer that they used for tailgate parties and barbecues to appropriately reflect their level of zeal for Seahawk home games.
The trailer was signed by 50 Seahawks players and auctioned in 2006 for more than $15,000, with all the proceeds going directly to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
This year, they converted the Winnebago.
Cystic fibrosis afflicts fewer than 30,000 people a year, so less research and money are put into it than other into diseases, said Robert Nunnenkamp, a Seattle city employee whose 15-year-old daughter, Tori, was diagnosed with the disease in 1993.
Cystic fibrosis is a disease that affects the lungs and digestive system, which causes progressive disability and early death in children and young adults. Nunnenkamp met the four Lake Stevens fans through the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
“Justin and the guys really make a difference. They make it easier to deal with CF,” Nunnenkamp said. “They raise the money, get the sponsors and do a lot of the work, then donate it all to CF. It’s because of guys like this that my daughter can live a normal life.”
The Lake Stevens fans have even curried the support of Seahawks kicker Josh Brown and his foundation, Good for 3. The idea is that a sponsor donates money every time Brown makes a field goal. Individual sponsors can donate $25 and up while corporate donors have a $300 minimum. Sponsors include Bry’s in Marysville, Extra Mile Chevron in Lake Stevens, Tully’s Coffee and Monster energy drinks.
Reid and the guys not only raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and for Brown’s Good for 3 Foundation, but also aim to have fun.
“Just doing it, working on the trailers and tailgating is great,” Eaton said. “But knowing that we are raising money for such an incredible cause puts it over the top.”
With the Winnebago mostly done, the guys are now looking for their next project to eventually sell at auction for cystic fibrosis.
“We started with a trailer and then graduated to something we could drive,” Reid said.
So far, the Winnebago is their most ambitious project, and though they consider it all in good fun they also take into consideration the seriousness of the cause they are involved in.
“It brings us closer to home, a deeper appreciation for what we do,” Reid said. “We all have kids. This really makes us thankful that they are healthy, that we have healthy families.”
Even with sponsors, the cost of the new trailer continues to climb. So far the guys have spent an estimated $25,000 on the Winnebago, and there is still work to be done.
But can it really be considered work?
“We don’t want to add up how much we’ve spent and we don’t care. It’s about fun,” Reid said. “We just want to make sure people can help out, donate and walk away with a good feeling.”
As they search for the 2008 12th Man Trailer, the guys are already thinking hard about what features it should have.
In two words: hot tub.
“Sure, why not?” Reid said. “Once you start the insanity, it’s hard to stop.”
Reporter Justin Arnold: 425-339-3432 or firstname.lastname@example.org.