By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Apr 08, 2020 at 8:20 AM

The coronavirus pandemic has changed our everyday life, but it doesn't need to change who we are. So, in addition to our ongoing coverage of the coronavirus, OnMilwaukee will continue to report on cool, fun, inspiring and strange stories from our city and beyond. Stay safe, stay healthy, stay informed and stay joyful. We're all in this together. #InThisTogetherMKE

Last week, the Milwaukee-based National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled a new collectible, paying tribute to an icon different than its usual sports heroes but no less heroic: Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has been director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984.

In addition to being able to tap the top and have the esteemed (by most) Dr. Fauci nod in agreement with everything you say – hey, maybe the White House oughta buy one! – there’s another benefit to the Fauci bobble: $5 from every purchase goes to the American Hospital Association’s 100 Million Mask Challenge.

On Wednesday morning, the museum's co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said that pre-sales of the bobblehead have soared, making the Fauci bobble the hall of fame's best-selling bobble ever – beating out the Sister Jean bobblehead made during the 2018 NCAA Tournament – and raising $100,000 for the mask challenge, via the Protect the Heroes fund.

"Bobbleheads are the ultimate honor, and we think Dr. Fauci deserves it given what he has done and continues to do for our country and the world in the battle against COVID-19," said Sklar when the Fauci bobble was unveiled.

Sklar will present a check – virtually, of course – to Alice Ayres, president and CEO of the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

"The bobblehead will join a growing number of items including donuts, socks and T-shirts featuring Dr. Fauci. We received a lot of requests for a bobblehead of Dr. Fauci and are excited to be able to use the bobblehead to raise funds for a vital organization that is helping limit the spread of the Coronavirus while making people smile during these unprecedented times."

The bobbleheads are available for pre-order exclusively through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s online store. They are $25 plus $8 shipping.

The bobbles are currently in production, which is why the photos here have an actual photograph for a head, and expected to ship in July. Sklar said he expects to have photos of the actual bobblehead within about a week.

Fauci probably deserved a bobblehead even before the current coronavirus outbreak. In addition to his years of research, Fauci was instrumental in the fights against HIV/AIDS, Ebola and Zika.

He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George W. Bush in 2008, and while, sure, that’s the highest honor a civilian in the U.S. can receive, it ain’ta bobblehead, now, is it?

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.