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Super Bowl? He’ll take a pass

Longtime Seattle Seahawks fan Franklin Chu won the Super Bowl season ticket lottery, but will auction off his ticket to raise money for hurricane relief instead of going to the Feb. 5 game in Detroit. - JULIE BUSCH photo
Longtime Seattle Seahawks fan Franklin Chu won the Super Bowl season ticket lottery, but will auction off his ticket to raise money for hurricane relief instead of going to the Feb. 5 game in Detroit.
— image credit: JULIE BUSCH photo

Franklin Chu is auctioning his ticket to raise money for hurricane relief.

Last Sunday, Franklin Chu hit a double lottery: his beloved Seattle Seahawks earned their first Super Bowl bid, and he won the chance to be there himself.

But in a “spread the wealth” move, this longtime season ticket holder isn’t going to Detroit.

Chu will instead auction his Super Bowl ticket to the highest bidder, then head to Louisiana with a truckload of Bainbridge Island contributions – including the ticket auction proceeds – for hurricane victims.

“I’m donating my ticket to the cause,” Chu said, “the Bainbridge to Bayou Hurricane Relief.”

Chu and his friend Jim Rohrscheib have shared a pair of Seahawks season tickets for 28 years. For about six years during that stretch, Chu “baby-sat” the tickets while his friend served in the Navy.

Last Monday morning, the pair were notified via email that they were among the Seahawks’ Super Bowl ticket lottery winners. As such, each man was afforded the opportunity to buy one ticket for $620 – airfare, accommodations and food not included.

Rohrscheib will attend the game, where “he’s going to cheer for me,” said Chu, who retired from his island ophthalmology practice in 2003.

Chu will instead travel to Abbeville, Vermilion Parish, La., a hurricane-stricken region recently “adopted” for relief by Bainbridge Islanders.

“I will represent Bainbridge to assess the situation firsthand and formally deliver the goods,” Chu said.

Former City Council member Christine Rolfes started the relief effort, which nearly a dozen local organizations and many individuals have joined under the name Island-to-Island Caring Connection.

The grassroots group is raising money and goods to help renovate the community hall in Abbeville, which was destroyed by hurricanes Rita and Katrina. The hall is the heart of the community and the home of its Head Start program.

This work, Chu said, is “a rebuilding of lives and homes in the bayous.”

Last weekend, islanders responded to a call for donations in astounding fashion, volunteer Linda Owens said. They came by truck and van to the former Exotic Aquatics building on Ericksen Avenue, laden with items ranging from new household supplies to freshly laundered, gently used towels and linens.

Some people brought goods in multiple trips, others handed over checks, Owens said.

From a hospital bed to a bucket of nails, volunteers accepted and packed the donations for shipment.

The boxed items will travel to Louisiana via a truck and driver donated by Hill Moving Company.

The truck is heading south Feb. 1 and Chu will, too. He’s hoping his Super Bowl seat brings in enough money to help the Bainbridge group reach their goal of $15,000 to purchase a commercial stove and refrigerator for the Vermilion Parish community hall.

He’d like the bidding to start at $1,500. Anyone who offers $5,000 will be the immediate winner.

As for how the Seahawks will do against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Super Bowl Sunday, Chu said he has faith in quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.

“We were very disappointing in the past. The wide receivers always dropped the ball,” Chu said. “They don’t drop those passes any more. It keeps the offense going.”

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Ticket to Detroit

To bid on Franklin Chu’s single ticket to Super Bowl XL in Detroit on Feb. 5, call him at 842-1230 or 499-2020 by noon Jan. 29. He’ll keep an ongoing list of bidders. The ticket will go to the highest bidder, or the first person to offer $5,000 for the Island to Island hurricane relief project.

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