FireWorks for Kids foundation scores with ABC 7's Jim Rose

CHICAGO - The FireWorks for Kids Foundation, the charitable arm of the Chicago Fire, has announced that veteran Chicago sports anchor Jim Rose of WLS-TV (ABC7 Chicago) will serve as the Master of Ceremonies for this year's Season Kickoff Luncheon, to be held on Tuesday, Mar. 29 at Chicago's Hyatt Regency.

"I am honored that the Chicago Fire has asked me to be master of ceremonies of a most worthy event," said Rose. " I look forward to a fun, enjoyable afternoon with some of the greatest soccer fans in America."

This year's event will begin with a reception at 11:00 a.m. CT, with the lunch and formal program beginning at 12:00 p.m. Last year's National Soccer Hall of Fame inductee and former Fire and U.S. National Team standout Eric Wynalda will serve as the event's Keynote Speaker.

Jim Rose is the sports anchor and reporter for ABC 7 News weekdays at 4 and 6 p.m. He joined ABC 7 News in 1982. Previously, from 1977-82, Rose served as a weekend sports anchor and play-by-play reporter at WIXT-TV in Syracuse, N.Y. During this time, he also hosted and produced "Sportsweek Nine," a weekly sports magazine, and WIXT's "The Halftime Report." During his college years, he worked as a sports anchor at WPRO-TV in Providence, R.I. (1975-77).

Rose began his career in sports broadcasting while serving in the U.S. Army, acting as sports director for AFN-TV in Berlin, West Germany (1973-75). He has won several awards for his work, including the 1981 Best Sports Story Award from the Syracuse Press Club for his "Sportsweek Nine" segment on the Sugar Ray Leonard/Larry Bonds title fight. The Syracuse Press Club also honored him in 1980 for Best Reporting Under Deadline Pressure, and in 1979 for Best Sports Story.

Rose serves on the Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Chicago. He earned a B.A. degree in Mass Communications from Rhode Island College in 1977.

"The FireWorks For Kids Foundation is very fortunate to have Jim Rose as our emcee for this year's event," said FWFK Executive Director Jessica Yavitz. "His professionalism, enthusiasm and dedication to the sport of soccer will help make this the premier event to kickoff the Chicago Fire's 2005 Major League Soccer season."

Tickets for this year's Season Kickoff Luncheon are $60 per individual or $500 for a table of ten. All proceeds from this year's event and silent auction will benefit the FireWorks for Kids Foundation, which since 1998 has helped the Chicago Fire contribute its service and commitment to the community through grants and charitable contributions. The FWFK mission is to forward recreational and educational opportunities for economically or otherwise disadvantaged children throughout the Chicagoland area.

For the third consecutive year, AthletiCo has joined forces with FireWorks for Kids in support of the Season Kickoff Luncheon. AthletiCo, the official provider of sports medicine and rehabilitation services for the Fire, provides outpatient orthopedic rehabilitation including, physical therapy, occupational therapy, sports medicine, work rehabilitation, performing arts rehabilitation, massage therapy, women's health, golf fitness and performance enhancement.

The 2005 Season Kickoff Luncheon will mark the seventh edition of the popular event, which traditionally marks the beginning of the season for both the club and the Foundation. The entire Fire player and coaching staff will be on hand to discuss the upcoming 2005 season, making this a spectacular event for Fire supporters and all fans of the sport. The first twenty full paid tables of ten will sit with a Chicago Fire player. In addition, the luncheon will include the always-popular silent auction, featuring Fire and sports memorabilia, gift certificates and more. For more information on the event or to purchase tickets, please call 312-705-7218.