There was no doubt that more than 1,100 people were in Steelers Country on April 8 at the Wyndham Grand Pittsburgh (formerly the Hilton Pittsburgh). There were Steelers, past and present, everywhere, black and gold décor and even the Lombardi Trophy in the form of an ice sculpture.

Former honorees marched into the ballroom and instead of immediately heading to the head table they took their appointed seat right with the other guests. They greeted their tablemates and a few Steelers let the people at the table try on their Super Bowl rings.

THE MAN OF THE HOUR WITH WIFE—Trameka and Jerome Bettis.

After dessert it was time for the slash and burn roasting of Jerome “The Bus” Bettis. His friends, family and former teammates took off the gloves and went for the jugular. His best friend since tenth grade, now business manager says Bettis is going to be the spokesperson for Old Spice. His brother John went way back to when they were kids and told how Jerome was a business man even when he was little, he sold candy. and to eliminate the competition he would steal candy from the other children.

Tim Lester, friend and former college and NFL teammate, said he was told not to say anything about Jerome’s weight, “You know he is sensitive about his weight.”

Hines Ward, friend and former teammate revealed Jerome’s secret ingredient, the one that has been handed on to Coach Mike Tomlin. Ward asked the crowd, “How many know about Bigen?” Ward noticed that only Black people raised their hands. He told the crowd that Bigen is the black hair dye that Bettis uses to spray paint his hair and passed it on to Mike Tomlin along with the phone number of his barber.

During this wonderful evening the audience had the opportunity to meet several graduates of the Mel Blount Youth Home: Donte England, Glenn Germany and Brandon Humphries spoke of their experience in Claysville, Pa., where Blount taught them by example, how to be a husband and father. He taught them to greet people with a firm handshake, look them in the eye and speak clearly.

Blount who turned 63 on this special night and spoke about the state of the youth home, said we need more people who are willing to reach out because the youth home is branching out, we’re planning a Jam Fest in August and we want to build a cafeteria and gymnasium. Blount thanked the sponsors, event chairs and his beautiful wife, TiAnda for all they did to make the evening a success.

The roast was hosted by former Steeler now ESPN analyst, Merril Hoge.

The Mel Blount Youth Home provides beds for short-term emergency shelter, and also beds for long-term residential placement of males between the ages of 13 and 17. The youth home offers a structured and nurturing environment that assures every child’s safety. The children live together in a group home setting and participate in an array of activities designed to address individual treatment goals.

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