Charles Tillman is one of the most popular players ever to don the Navy and Orange of the Chicago Bears. His on field accomplishments are just a small part of why fans connect with Tillman so much. When thinking of Tillman, the 36 career interceptions, 42 forced fumbles and nine defensive touchdowns take a back seat to his off field endeavors.
His charitable work through his Cornerstone Foundation is just a small part of what he does to give back. When nominated for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award for 2013, which he won, the NFL released a press release that contained the following snippet about Tillman.
...Tillman's contributions off of the field are equally as impressive as his work on it. Tillman continues to have an impact on millions of people in the Chicago area through his Cornerstone Foundation and its many programs. Charles' Locker provides pediatric hospital patients with access to iPads, laptops, gaming systems and other kinds of entertainment to help pass the time during their hospital stays and annually reaches more than 370,000 children. The Tiana Fund has distributed more than $1 million to over 300 families who have been identified by local organizations as at-risk or in need. The support is provided to families and individuals to strengthen their ability to care for themselves, enhance their stability and security, and improve their quality of life.
Tillman and his wife, Jackie, also contribute their time and resources to local, national and international organizations outside of the Cornerstone Foundation. The Tillmans have helped build a school in Cambodia, sponsored children through the Urban Promise program in Camden, New Jersey, and have purchased and donated over 700 tickets to Bears home games since 2008 through the Bears Home Team Hand-Off program. Tillman is also an avid supporter of our military, and has participated in a USO tour to Iraq, volunteered with the USO of Illinois on Thanksgiving to serve meals to local troops, and provided soldiers with tickets to games at Soldier Field during the 2013 season.
In 2012 he won the NFL's Salute To Service Award. In 2009 he won the NFL's Ed Block Courage Award. He's a three time winner of the Chicago Bears' Brian Piccolo Award (2003, 2008, 2013), and most recently he was awarded the honor of having a street named after him in his home town of Copperas Cove, Texas.
In typical Tillman fashion he downplayed the honor, "I don't think I am deserving of a road, but I will take it."
Tillman may be most proud that the newly conceived "Charles Tillman Way" will lead to the future home of the Narrows Business and Technology Park. "Cove is growing," Tillman said. "Cove is definitely on the up and coming. Hopefully Charles Tillman Way can change lives."
His road will intersect with a street named after another of Copperas Cove's famous sons, "Robert Griffin III Boulevard". Both Tillman and Griffin come from military families, and they recently sat down at a USAA military event where they talked about growing up "military brats" and having a street named after them.