Tickettaker celebrates 50 years
Jack Birner was there, at the old Rock Pile, following in his father’s footsteps as a ticket-taker for Buffalo Bills games when he was a senior at Turner High School.
He was there in 1973, when the facility in Orchard Park opened as Rich Stadium.
He continued to be there when it was known as Ralph Wilson Stadium, and then took on its current name of New Era Field.
Birner, 67, will be there Sunday, when the Bills face the New York Jets.
He’s celebrating 50 years of working with the Bills. And of all the “taking” he has done during that time, he said his biggest take-away was meeting his wife, Charlene, who has done the same job as her husband for the past 34 years.
On Friday, the Bills presented Birner with a framed jersey with his name on it and the number 50 in gold.
Coach Sean McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane visited with Birner and his wife after practice at the club’s indoor facility.
“I’ve made life-long friendships out here,” said Birner, who spent 30 years working at the West Seneca Development Center and was a ticket-taker at Buffalo Memorial Auditorium working Sabres and Braves games. “I gave up (working Sabres and Braves games), but it’s tough to give up the Bills. You’re still a fan.”
Birner is the second employee to work for the Bills for 50 years.
Last year, Maynard Bunn was honored for becoming the first. NFL