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Ike Taylor helps give Presents to Beaver Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
Beaver Valley Nursing and Rehab patient Dolly Stoops shares a laugh with Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor as he signs her shirt at the Senator John Heinz History Center on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 in the Strip District. A small group of patients visited the Gridiron Glory exhibit at the museum as a part of the 'Presents for Patients' event, before receiving gifts from Taylor.

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Sunday, Dec. 23, 2012, 9:00 p.m.

Christmas came a week early for a group of residents from Beaver Valley Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, thanks in part to a road trip that took them to the Heinz History Center on Tuesday for a tour of Gridiron Glory: The Best of the Pro Football Hall of Fame exhibit and an “adoption” by Ike Taylor of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“It's a good feeling,” he said. “It's always good to give back.”

Presents For Patients recipients Richard Unkefer, Dorothy Rytel, Dolly Stoops, Martha Turkovic, and Philip Ward were given their gifts by the cornerback and his 6-year-old son, Ivan, who also signed autographs and mugged for the cameras.

“They love the Steelers. So often they (ask) for a Steelers sweatshirt, a Steelers hat ... to be given it by a Steeler, that's even better,” said Presents For Patients spokeswoman Valerie Day Wilden.

Also in attendance wereShelli Sommariva, Anthony Savannah and Carol Papsadaro.

“They're diehard fans ... they've been known to throw a few towels at people who try and change the channel,” Papsadaro said.

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