NFL 2023 Fan of the Year |

Pittsburgh Steelers

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The Fan of the Year presentation prior a regular season game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles, Sunday, Oct. 30, 2022 in Philadelphia, PA. (Karl Roser / Pittsburgh Steelers)

Jim Zimmerman Sr.

Jim Zimmerman has been a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan since he was a child. Growing up, Jim never had the opportunity to go to a Steelers game with his father. Wanting to break the cycle, Jim was determined to take his son, James, to a Steelers home game. They always talked about it but, unfortunately, that never happened. After high school, James had joined the Marine Corps. and was off to his station in Hawaii, then overseas.

Season after season, Jim would get on his game day shirt and sit in front of his television to watch every Steelers game, thinking about the promise he made about taking James to a game.

In June of 2015, a man named Bill Soloway received a life-saving heart transplant. Jim's son, James, was the heart donor who saved my life.

After communicating back and forth by mail several times (it is protocol for a heart recipient to meet their donor's family), Bill and Jim agreed that they would meet. Bill lives in the suburbs of Philadelphia and is an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan. Jim lives in Mt. Pleasant outside of Pittsburgh.

When Bill first met Jim, he was wearing a Steelers Ben Roethlisberger shirt.

Every time Bill was in the Pittsburgh area, the two would meet up, and Jim would have on a different Steelers shirt. After the third or fourth visit (and third or fourth different Steelers shirt), Bill asked Jim about his beloved Steelers. That is when Jim told him about his wish of taking his only son, James, to a Steelers game. He thought this would now never happen.

Bill then made it his mission to take Jim to his first-ever live Steelers game. Though James wouldn't physically be there with his dad, his heart would be.

Because of Jim's dedication to both his son's legacy and to the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bill, too, now considers himself a true Steelers fan "at heart."