On Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 2010, Dr. John Pandolfino established the Motts58 Foundation.
Dr. Pandolfino, gastroenterologist and specialist in esophageal diseases at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, had the privilege of knowing Motts Tonelli as his physician during his final years. Although short, the time spent treating Motts has had a tremendous impact on both his personal and professional development. As one of the country’s premier academic medical center hospitals, Northwestern Memorial serves as the primary teaching hospital for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Dr. Pandolfino frequently utilizes Motts Tonelli’s story as an important teaching model for his students and young physicians.
The Motts58 Foundation was founded in honor and celebration of a true American hero, Mario “Motts” Tonelli.
We seek to promote the qualities exemplified by Motts throughout his exceptional life, despite the odds against him. At the age of 6, doctors declared he would not walk again when a fire left 3rd degree burns across his legs and body, yet in the face of adversity, Tonelli became a revered college and professional football player. With courage and determination, the former prisoner of war survived the horrific Bataan Death March and later returned to his native Chicago, began his 42-year political career, and was elected a Cook County Commissioner.
A genuine role model, Motts prized education and spent his retirement speaking at Chicago-area high schools encouraging students and athletes to build character and achieve excellence through hard work, discipline, and dedication. The Motts58 Foundation serves to preserve the legacy of Motts Tonelli and extend the peerless altruism Motts unfailingly exhibited.