Walk for Homeless Continues in Tunch Ilkin’s Memory
This past Saturday, the 20th Annual Tunch and Wolf Walk for the Homeless took place on the North Shore. The event that fundraises money for the Light of Life Rescue Mission on the North Side was created by legendary radio color analyst and former Steelers offensive lineman, Tunch Ilkin, and fellow broadcast partner and teammate, Craig Wolfley.
Ilkin and Wolfley were both drafted by the Steelers in 1980 and had an inseparable friendship for 41 years up until Ilkin’s death on Sept. 4, 2021, after battling Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Wolfley was at Ilkin’s bedside when he died, that’s how close their friendship was.
Along with football and having a passion for offensive line play, Ilkin and Wolfley also shared a bond of having strong faith and serving others. Wolfley said the Tunch and Wolf Walk for the Homeless was inspired by Ilkin’s desire to give back.
“To Tunch, this was his idea, this was his vibe, this was his joy and desire. He wanted to serve Christ and serve the community and he put his favorite things together — walking and Light of Life Rescue Mission,” Wolfley said via KDKA.
"This was his idea, this was his vibe, his joy and desire. Tunch wanted to serve Christ, he wanted to serve the community… so he put his favorite things together: Walking and Light of Life Rescue Mission." – Former Pittsburgh Steeler Craig Wolfley @KDKA pic.twitter.com/0zndXTdlG4
— Light of Life (@lightoflife) June 21, 2022
The event began with a 10k walk along the North Shore trail and ended with a free cookout. Fundraising from this year’s event went to the “Thanks A Million” Campaign.
With Ilkin retiring in June of 2021 due to his battle with Lou Gehrig’s Disease, Wolfley replaced his longtime friend in the booth alongside play-by-play man Bill Hillgrove. Wolfley was a sideline reporter for 19 seasons on the Steelers radio broadcast team with Ilkin and Hillgrove.
Wolfley thought of retiring from the Steelers broadcast team rather than replace his sick friend. Ilkin wanted him to go on, though.
“This is an incredible honor knowing the people who preceded me in this seat and a lineage I hope I do justice to,” Wolfley said in a statement. “I’m looking forward to working with an incredible team on Steelers broadcasts.”