After traveling over 35,000 miles since September 12th & making warrior wishes come true at 40 Regular season games, it was time for my dad to focus his efforts on the playoffs!
Yea, we’re talkin bout playoffs!
It’s always a little more challenging to make warrior wishes come true during the playoffs because you typically don’t know which teams are making it to the postseason & the NFL doesn’t release the playoff schedule until the week before the games. So with less than a week to book travel, confirm Warriors and secure tickets, it’s a challenge!
We are very conscious on how money is spent on our mission. The less money paid for travel means more wishes come true, so thankfully the Bengals had a home playoff game
So instead of paying hundreds of dollars in airfare to go to Washington DC or Houston. We had to choose between freezing our butts off in sub-zero temperatures in Minnesota or hosting heroes in Cincinnati. We decided to make warrior wishes come true at the Bengals game.
Our friend Bill offered to donate his time & gas money, so he & my dad drove 5 hours to Cincy early Saturday morning.
Once in Cincinnati, they met up with Marine CPL Joshua Sust to make his warrior wish come true!
As always, the guys tailgated with WhodeyBaby, Big John and the Bengal Bomb Squad. The Bengal Bomb Squad tailgate is a gathering of Bengal fans like no other! With games, food galore, great people, superfans, and of course their traditional Bengal Bombs … it’s a Who Dey gameday experience everyone loves! The Bengals ultimate tailgate took time to recognize CPL Sust and his friend, fellow Marine Kevin Dickerson for their military service.
Our other guest, Army SSG Paul Brondhaver, actually works for the Bengals setting up military programs, so he joined CPL Sust inside Paul Brown stadium on the field for Pre Game warm ups. Not only did they get an up close look from the sidelines, they also greeted and “high fived” the players in the tunnel as they entered the field for start of game .
The game itself was one of the best games you will ever see – unless you are a Bengals fan . The Bengals had the game in hand – leading 16-15 and intercepted Ben Rothlisberger pass with just 1:36 left in the game. Plus they were already in field goal range. The game should have been over. However, on the Bengals first play of the drive, Jeremy Hill fumbled the ball giving the Steelers one last chance.
The clearly injured Rothlisberger completed a couple short passes, followed by two huge personal foul penalties, allowing Steelers to score a game winning field goal as time expired. It was a tough loss for Cincinnati.
But thanks to Bengals Tight End, Tyler Eifert and his parents, our night wasn’t going to end with the loss. The Eifert family invited the warriors to join them to meet Tyler & some of the players after the game.
Despite the loss many of the Bengals players, including Tyler Eifert, AJ Hawk & Andy Dalton, stopped by to thank the warriors for their service. in fact, we think they were as excited to meet our warriors, as our warriors were to meet them.
Corporal Sust had some of the Bengals players sign his new prosthetic – he just had his foot amputated four months ago and has adjusted to it very quickly.
We want to Thank the Eifert family for the post game passes & all theBengals players who stopped to thank the guys for thier service and sign some autographs. We also want to thank Bob at the Bengals for the field pass, New Era for the Bengals Caps, Whodey, Big John & the Bengal bomb Squad for an ultimate tailgate experience & most importantly, THANK YOU to Paul, Josh, Rob and Kevin for your service to our country!!!
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!
Tomorrow, Warrior Wishes come true in DC! However, my dad will not be there to host them because he & Bill will be driving back home overnight in order to get back in time to celebrate X man’s 2nd birthday!
MEET THE WARRIORS
MARINE CPL JOSHUA SUST
Joshua Sust was born in January 20,1987 in Cincinnati, Ohio. He graduated from Colerain High School in June 2006. 2 weeks after his graduation he was on a bus to the one and only Parris Island MCRD. After 13 grueling weeks he finally accomplished his greatest achievement becoming a United States Marine. Upon completion of boot camp PVT Sust was headed to SOI East at camp Gieger, NC. After another grueling 3 months PFC Sust graduated SOI and was headed to the Fleet Marine Force with 2nd battalion 4th marines at Camp Pendleton, CA
Cpl Sust spent a total of 6yrs with 2/4 and 3 deployments with them. His first two were the 31st and 11th MEU on his last and finally deployment CPL Sust was deployed to Helmand Provence, Afghanistan in September 2011. On a day he will never forget which has come to be known as many others a his alive day. Nov 12, 2011 at around 0830 Cpl Sust was on a mounted patrol when his Vic hit an IED causing his door to be blown off and ejected. His injuries are: shattered tib/fib left foot and open fractures to both bones in his left arm. After years of therapy and 9 surgeries later Cpl Sust was medically retired from the Marine Corps in Aug 2013.
Now as a retired Marine Joshua Sust finds the best therapy for him is being around his combat brothers and hunting and fishing and also riding his motorcycle. For him nothing is better than being outdoors at a lake or in the woods. He feels at peace were everything kind of slows down and he can relax and enjoy his life. He is also a board member of The wounded Marine Fund that helps other wounded vets.
Cpl Sust awards are: Purple Heart, Combat action ribbon, Good Conduct Medal x2, Afghanistan Campaign medal, sea service deployment ribbon x3, meritorious mass, letter of appreciation x2, certificate of appreciation, and cercom.
Josh is a die hard Bengals fan and it was an honor to make this Warrior Wish come true!!!
ARMY SSG PAUL BRONDHAVER
Staff Sergeant (SSG) Paul Brondhaver is a native of New Richmond, Ohio, a small town located 20 miles east of Cincinnati on the banks of the Ohio River. Paul joined the United States Army at age 17, before graduating from New Richmond High School in May 1986. He earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Arts and Science from the University of Cincinnati. Paul has earned his Master’s in Business Administration in 2013 from Indiana Wesleyan University. Paul has been a Red Cross volunteer and instructor for 31 years. Paul retired from the United States Army in 2007 with 21 years of service.
SSG Paul Brondhaver has traveled all over the world through his military service to places such as Honduras, Germany, Panama, Kuwait, and Iraq. His state and country called on him to serve on active duty for 19 different missions and operations. He served with the 216th Combat Engineer Unit and the 1st Infantry Division in Operation Iraqi Freedom from 2003 through 2005. SSG Brondhaver’s tour ended early when his combat patrol was attacked with small arms fire and a rocket propelled grenade that exploded near his Humvee in Summara, North of Baghdad, Iraq in July 2004. Paul’s body was riddled with over 300 pieces of metal shrapnel in the attack, while a fellow soldier and friend was killed in the explosion. Paul has hearing loss severe nerve damage, a traumatic brain injury, and severe post traumatic stress disorder. Paul credits the Lord, prayer, his fellow soldiers, the military and his American Red Cross training for saving his life.
- 4 Army Commendation Medals
- 3 Army Achievement Medals
- Humanitarian Service Medal
- Army Good Conduct Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
- Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal
- Bronze Star with Valor
- And…The Purple Heart
Paul’s family currently reside in Cincinnati. Paul enjoys spending time with his three beautiful children: Tanner, Morgan and Conner. Paul knows firsthand the needs military families have after returning home from deployment, so he started his own 501 (C) 3, non-profit foundation. The “Paul Brondhaver Foundation for Military Families” rescue dogs, trains them, and provides veterans with companion service dogs. His foundation also assists local military families with dental, counseling, home repairs, food and other important expenses that cause the military family undue hardship. He feels it is a true honor to serve his country, the United States of America.
SOURCE – http://www.helpingahero.org/our-heroes/ssg-ret-paul-brondhaver