- Video shows the Wisconsin Herd playing in new jerseys with special symbolism Friday night
- The Wisconsin Herd became the Wisconsin Be Herd Friday while raising money for NAMI Oshkosh
- This is the first fundraiser of its kind for the team, but it likely won't be the last
- A staff member who had lost a friend to suicide came up with the idea for the fundraiser
(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)
The Wisconsin Herd is nowhere to be found at the Oshkosh arena. Instead the team has become the Wisconsin Be Herd.
I'm Pari Apostolakos reporting in Oshkosh with more on why the team is changing its name for one night only.
The Wisconsin Herdis partnering with Rhyme to raise money for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, also known as NAMI, in Oshkosh.
Team President Steve Brandes says it's their first fundraiser with a focus on mental health.
"We had a staff member that was affected by, had a friend that was affected by suicide and the family was affected by suicide and it was that individual's idea," he said before the game Friday.
The team's jerseys will be auctioned off to raise funds for NAMI Oshkosh.
The irises on the jerseys pay homage to a famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh.
The flowers are often used as "A symbol of hope, courage, and recovery for individuals and their families living with mental illness," according to the team.
"Why can we talk about certain diseases with no problem and other diseases we can't?" Josh Hutchinson, Secretary of the board of NAMI Oshkosh, asked Friday night.
He says the funds raised by the herd will go towards programs for peer counseling, and training programs for the public about how to help someone in crisis, among other programming.
"Mental health affects everything else," he said.
The herd doesn't have a specific fundraising goal, but they hope to raise as much money as possible.
Although this is the first fundraiser of its kind for the team, it likely won't be the last.
"Any cause like this its super important, near and dear to us," Brandes said. "We want to leverage the power of our footprint and our platform to give back and tell stories and really drive revenue for good causes. So yeah I can see us doing this for many years to come."
If you are having a substance use, mental health, or suicidal crisis you can call or text the number 988.
The state Department of Health Services says when using that number, you will be connected to an in-state service with trained counselors.
You can also use the chat feature at 988lifeline.org.
Reporting in Oshkosh, Pari Apostolakos NBC 26.