'I don't hide it': Tomahawk Police Chief stands out as lone Pittsburgh Steelers diehard in Packers countrySubmitted: 05/25/2018
Ben Meyer
Ben Meyer
Managing Editor / Senior Reporter

'I don't hide it': Tomahawk Police Chief stands out as lone Pittsburgh Steelers diehard in Packers country
TOMAHAWK - The first thing you notice about Tomahawk Police Chief Al Elvins is his Southern drawl.

He lived in Georgia for years.

The second thing you notice is just as out of place in northern Wisconsin. It's the black and yellow. Everywhere.

In the land of the green and gold, Packers country, Elvins is a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

He'll take you outside the Tomahawk Police Department to show you the guard posts.

"When I got hired, they were yellow and green. When I passed the state certification test, I came back that day and painted them black. Yellow and black. For the Steelers," he said.

The posts are just the start. Elvins' office includes pennants, pictures, and banners. That should come as no surprise to the people who hired him.

"I was asked in my interview process by the Police and Fire Commission if I was a Packers fan," he remembered. "I said, 'Absolutely not.' They said, 'Do you think you could be a Packers fan?' I said, 'Absolutely not.'"

They still hired him.

Despite growing up in New York and Georgia, Elvins started watching the Steelers at age three. His passion has never changed.

"Everybody knows I'm a Steelers fan," he said. "I don't hide it."

Elvins didn't even hide it last November, when he was called away from dinner with his wife to a crime scene. At an impromptu press conference, Elvins answered questions in a Steelers sweatshirt.

Why wouldn't he be wearing one? The Steelers were on Thursday Night Football that night.

"I caught a little bit of flak about wearing a Steelers hoodie to an interview," Elvins said with a laugh.

His wife Tina works a few blocks away. Elvins asked her to wear a Ben Roethlisberger jersey for my visit. She's gotten used to catching flak, too.

"When I wore this today, everybody's like, 'What are you wearing that ugly shirt for?'" she said.

But home is a safe place. It's a Steelers place.

"I don't think there's one room that doesn't have something Steelers," Tina said. "We have a Steelers toaster that puts the Steelers emblem on the toast."

Tina grew up a Cowboys fan, but her husband keeps working on her, filling her closet with black and yellow.

"He buys me Steelers stuff. I have some Steelers slippers, Steelers pants, Steelers shirt," she said. "I'm surprised I don't have a Steelers bathing suit."

"Oh, it's coming, honey," Elvins, standing in the background, chimed in.

Elvins took his family to the Steelers-Packers game at Lambeau Field in 2013. As Tina reminisced about the day, he broke in.

"Who won, baby?" he asked.

"The Steelers won," she conceded.

Elvins knows he'll never make Tomahawk a Steelers town. But it's clear. His house is Steelers country, even down to their new dog.

"She does not have a choice," Elvins said. "If she wants to eat, she's a Steelers fan."

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