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Tailgate vigil honors Ralph Wilson

Orchard Park, N.Y. - Hundreds of Buffalo Bills fans packed a parking lot near the Ralph Wilson Stadium just one day after Wilson's funeral to remember and celebrate the life of the late Bills owner.

Many fans said they wanted a unique way to honor Wilson.

"Tailgating, it's what we do when we come to the games, so let's do it now when we're in a loss," said Captain Buffalo, dressed head to toe in Bills gear. "Ralph Wilson respected Western New York, he gave us a chance."

Fans traveled from all over the state to pay respects, eat, and share memories.

Michael Curtin of Lackawanna talked about meeting Wilson, and reflected on his relationship with fans.

"Some say he didn't want to pay the big bucks for a winning team," he said. "But I'm thinking, back when I was in high school, the 4 years, the Super Bowls, those were the best years of my life, my gosh that was great."

Signs and posters thanking Wilson were prevalent at the tailgate, one read, "Ralph Wilson: Thank you for keeping your word...", reference Wilson's efforts to keeping the team in Buffalo.

Fans also took the time to send their best wishes to former Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, currently in the hospital after facing a recurrence of oral cancer.

"We come out and we do what we have to do for a player, coach, or anybody," said Bills fan Tiffany Zotara. "Whatever we have to do, we're supportive."

The tailgate was largely organized by the Bills Mafia, and donations for the event will be going to Hunter's Hope, an organization funding research to fight Krabbe disease.

Hunter's Hope was founded by former Buffalo Quarterback Jim Kelly, after his son, Hunter, died from the disease.

 The Rochester RazorSharks and Knighthawks are sending Kelly a large get-well card and are asking fans to sign it. You can see the list of where and when it will be available here

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Washington Times