Executive George McCaskey (right) and president Ted Phillips talk to fans at Bears Expo. (Abel Uribe)
By Brad Biggs Tribune reporter 1:19 p.m. CDT, May 6, 2011
The change the Chicago Bears announced more than a year ago became official Thursday as George McCaskey succeeded his brother Michael as the chairman of the board for the franchise.
McCaskey, who had served as the teamís ticket office director since 1991, will represent the organization in league matters at a key time with the NFL in the midst of a lockout and a labor battle with the players.
Team president Ted Phillips will continue to run daily operations at Halas Hall and it has yet to be determined if there will be any perceptible changes to the way the club does business. Michael McCaskey had served as chairman of the board since 1999.
The first announcement after McCaskeyís promotion was an address change. While the Bears didnít move the location of their headquarters in Lake Forest, they did officially change the address to 1920 Football Drive from 1000 Football Drive.
The change obviously marks the year the club was founded by George Halas as the Decatur Staleys.
ďItís humbling and exciting,Ē George McCaskey announced on the Bears' team-controlled website. ďAll that my brothers and sisters are asking of me is everything that Iíve got, and Iím sure Bears fans expect nothing less than everything that Iíve got, and thatís what I intend to give.
ďI donít see any dramatic changes. My role will really be as a sounding board, an advisor if Ted wants me in that role; as a representative of the family, of ownership and the board; and to create as positive of an environment as possible. The way I see it my job is to work with and in support of the president and CEO in creating a climate thatís conducive to sustained success.Ē
Bears chairman helps World War II vets take special trip
By: Larry Mayer | Last Updated: 5/6/2011 2:26 PM
LAKE FOREST, Ill. – George McCaskey recently took a trip that he’ll never forget.
The Bears chairman of the board accompanied 96 World War II veterans to Washington D.C., April 27 to visit the National World War II Memorial, which opened to the public in 2004. (Watch ABC7 video of trip.)
George McCaskey helped escort three brothers who served in World War II to Washington last week. The trek was made possible by Honor Flight Chicago, a nonprofit organization that flies veterans to the nation’s capital for one day to see the memorial, which honors the 16 million who served in the U.S. armed forces, the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home. “It was awesome,” McCaskey said. “The best part of the day was when we were just sitting around catching a little shade or something and people would take the initiative to go up to these heroes by themselves and thank them for their service. It was very touching to see.”
McCaskey served as a “guardian” on the trip, helping to escort three brothers. Tony Berg, 92, Bob Berg, 90, and Harold Berg, 88, all served in the Army during World War II.
“This is the greatest generation,” McCaskey said, referring to the term that describes people who grew up during the Great Depression and fought in World War II.
“They saved the world, and they couldn’t have been more humble about it. All of those people were coming up to them and thanking them. They were just so gracious in accepting people’s thanks and downplaying anything they had done. It was amazing to see.”
The trip had special meaning for McCaskey, whose father Ed served in the Army’s 80th Infantry Division. Ed, who passed away in 2003, would have turned 92 on the day his son traveled to Washington.
Honor Flight Chicago has now made 26 visits to Washington since 2008 with nine more trips planned this year. According to the organization’s website, there are more than 1,500 veterans on a waiting list and approximately 25,000 World War II veterans living in the Chicago area.
Honor Flight Chicago’s website explains that “the American veteran is one of our greatest treasures, those men and women who answered our nation’s call, especially at times of our greatest need. Our mission is to honor and thank those veterans, especially now our WWII veterans by bringing them to Washington D.C., at no cost to them, for a day of honor.”