Jeff Truesdell
December 14, 2009 12:00 PM

Ken Stevenson, 50

Curtis Breville, 40

Mehlville, Mo.

For generations of Mehlville High School players and fans, the high point of every game arrived when Tim Osborn would rise to chants of “Oz-zy!” and lead a cheer. “He was an unnamed mascot,” recalls former linebacker Ken Stevenson of the developmentally disabled man.

So it was with dismay that, 20 years later, Ken and others learned through an alumni Facebook page that Ozzy, 54, was on the streets. “My heart sank,” says alum Curtis Breville. Launching “Operation Ozzy,” they posted an old picture of him on Facebook, and a month later a cop who is a Mehlville alum spotted a disheveled Ozzy—whose hospital dishwasher job had been eliminated—outside the St. Louis Cardinals’ stadium.

Today, things are looking up. Until he finds permanent housing, Ozzy is staying with Ken, a divorced corporate recruiter; he has landed a part-time dishwashing job and, thanks to some sleuthing by Ken, reconnected with his estranged father shortly before he died. He’s also back cheering his favorite team. At an Oct. 23 game that helped raise $22,000 for a trust fund the group has established for him, Ozzy was shown his permanent front-row seat, marked “No. 1 Fan.” Tearfully, he rallied the crowd. “I had no idea,” he says, “I had so many friends.”


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