BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – Gonzalo Segares hadn't painted much during his adult life, but when he saw the opportunity to contribute to the Chicago Fire Foundation's Art of Futbol event last year, the Fire defender whipped out his brush and started painting.
The Costa Rican is always quick to raise his hand when the Chicago Fire Foundation or local humanitarian causes need help. This year, he's been a spokesman for the Gift of Hope Organ and Tissue Donation Network and participated in fundraisers for Teammates for Kids, an organization that helps kids in various ways. He's attended events with the Chicago Fire Foundation, including the Art of Futbol event, where he was a judge this year, and he rode the Fire's float at the Chicago Pride Parade last weekend.
For his constant willingness to participate in charitable events, Segares has been named MLS Humanitarian of the Month.
“Whenever they ask me to go to [an event], usually I'm at home bored,” Segares told MLSsoccer.com with a laugh. “It's a great opportunity to meet new people. It's always nice to do that and help.”
Segares has been involved in different Fire charities, including the Fireworks for Kids Foundation, throughout his career in Chicago. But as the years have gone on, he's participated more and more.
This year, he became a spokesman Gift of Hope Foundation, an organization that encourages and coordinates organ and tissue donation in Illinois and northwest Indiana. During the offseason, he attended an event for Teammates for Kids in Nashville with Garth Brooks, a founder of the Foundation, where he helped procure more donations for the Chicago Fire Foundation.
He spent his two bye weekends during June attending the Fire Foundation's Brews and Bites event and the Chicago Pride Parade.
“It was great fun,” Segares said about the Pride Parade. “The Fire has a lot of gay and lesbian supporters, and it was a great opportunity not only for me but also for the organization and for Pepsi to celebrate at the parade and give back and also support them as well.”
Segares has plenty on his plate as the Fire try to climb up the standings to secure a playoff spot. But the left back is always willing to give up his free time to charitable causes.
“Whenever we have an event and I have time to do it and we're not on the road [I'll attend],” Segares said. “Usually with the Fire, they keep me pretty busy, so that's good.”