If you have been following our mission over the years, you may remember last summer when my dad made warrior wishes come true at 60 games in 60 days! Needless to say, he was pretty exhausted from being on the road for that many days straight. That’s why this year we decided to break up our “Battlefields to Ballfields” mission into 2 week mini mission by regions. So far this summer we have made warrior wishes come true in Atlanta, Boston, Detroit, Kansas City, St. Louis, Houston, Arlington, Pittsburgh, New York, Washington DC, Philly, Baltimore, Cleveland, & Chicago.
So now After a nice little 2 week break to spend some time at home with Xander, my dad is back on the bus on a mission to make warrior wishes come true at 7 games over the next 7 days. I gave my dad a ride to the Greyhound stationThursday morning at 6:00 AM for his 1st bus of this mission. Fortunately for my dad, he double checked his travel schedule and realized he was on Megabus – not Greyhound. Luckily his $1 Megabus was only 15 minute walk from the Greyhound station so was able to make it with 5 minutes to spare.
On this mission, my dad will be making stops in Cincy for a Reds game, Atlanta for a Braves game, Miami for 2 Marlins games, Tampa for 2 Rays games, back to Atlanta for a 2nd Braves game before bussing back to Chicago for his final break before completing the 2016 Battlefields to Ballfields mission.
He arrived in Cincinnati around noon for the 2nd Reds game of the year. It was an honor to host Marine CPL Kevin Dickinson & Gold Star parents, James and Leslie Groves, whose son James III was killed in March of 2013 (see below). James II also served 8 years as a cook in the Army.
My dad walked about a mile and half from the Megabus stop to the stadium to meet up with the Groves at Moerleins Lager House for dinner. Moerleins is the perfect place to meet up before & after Reds & Bengals games. They have a huge selection of beer & delicious food. Moerleins has become a big supporter of our mission and has hosted our heroes and their families for PreGame meals for both Bengals and Reds games over the years.
James is quite the historian and my dad said he really learned a lot about history, as well as about their brave son James III, over a delicious dinner. Their waiter was also a marine and he shared a few stories with them too.
In 4 years of making warrior wishes come true, we have never had a rain out. I know I just jinxed us…. But that’s a pretty amazing statistic, especially considering all the east coast games we have done in April & May.
Just as we left to walk across the street to the Great American Ballpark , it started pouring down rain. And the Weather Channel app showed 80% or higher chance of rain for next 5 hours… It looked like our streak was about to be snapped. However, after a 20 minute downpour and a little field maintenance , the tarp was removed and it was time to “Play Ball!!!
Immediately following the rainstorm they ran into about a dozen active duty Army guys ( and couple AirForce)from Fort Carson in Colorado, who were in town for training. My dad got a great photo with the whole group around the Groves’ and the guys thanked them for sacrifice.
You may be wondering why we haven’t mentioned Cpl Dickinson – well he and his wife Autumn have 2 young kids, plus Kevin just got new job so they could not make it for dinner. However, the seats were in the Cincinnati Bell Technology Club Section in center field and Cpl Dickinson and his wife were able to get something to eat there.
A huge THANK YOU to Dick Lynch with Skills in Demand (he helps veterans get jobs) and Cincinnati Bell for – as Autumn put it “unbelievable seats.” The Cincinnati Bell seats are great because you can sit inside or watch the game from the Party Deck right above the suite.
After jumping out to an early 4-1 lead, the Reds gave up 6 unanswered runs & unfortunately fell to the Padres 7 -4. Despite the loss it was still a great night for everyone.
Again we want to thank Dick Lynch for reaching out and to Cincinnati Bell for those “unbelievable seats.” We also want to say thanks to Moerleins Lager House for the pregame meal and New Era Cap for providing everyone with new Reds caps. As always, the biggest THANK YOU goes to our VIP Guest Warriors – Marine Cpl Kevin Dickinson , Army James Groves II and the proud parents of their fallen son CWO James Groves III – James and Leslie.
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!
After the game, my dad made that Mile and a half walk to get on his “hotel ” for the night. He will arrive in Atlanta at 10:40 AM to host more heroes tomorrow nights Braves game. Stay tuned for more details!
MEET THE WARRIORS
ARMY CWO JAMES GROVES III
“He talked to recruiters at all four branches and decided that the Army offered the best deal,” his mother said. “He grew up around it. Both of his grandfathers were in the Army during World War II. His father was in the Army Reserve when we were first married.”
He was stationed in Colorado when he met Katie. “They were both runners and loved going on cruises. Katie took him on a cruise for his birthday last November. He was home for Thanksgiving. He left in December. That was the last time we saw him.”
Groves, who attended officer training school and was an instructor pilot, was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade, 3rd infantry Division at Hunter Airfield. His resume included included military intelligence and air assault.
“James didn’t say much about what it was like in Afghanistan. He did talk about Iraq. He said the U.S. presence there was necessary and that we were doing some good. When one of his buddies there died, he accompanied the body home for the
Leslie Groves said the commander of the base in Afghanistan told Katie there was no enemy action in the area at the time of the crash. “They were looking at a mechanical malfunction as the cause. Pilot error was not a consideration.”
MARINE CPL KEVIN DICKINSON
Kevin Dickinson grew up in Cincinnati, OH where he currently resides with his wife and two children. He graduated high school in 2006 and enlisted in the Marine Corps in September of 2007. He was assigned to 2nd Amphibious Assault Battalion in 2008 stationed in Camp Lejeune, NC where he deployed to Helmand, Afghanistan in 2009. Kevin left active service in 2011 and was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps in 2015. He graduated with a bachelors degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Cincinnati in 2016. He now currently works at GE Aviation.