Typically We are the ones hosting these warriors at each event, however, the warrior was hosting me at the Draft. Marine, Minor Mobley (a board member for Operation Warrior Wishes & one of our biggest supporters) won 2 tickets to the draft on twitter from Indianapolis Colts owner, Jim Irsay.
Minor is a die hard Colts fan, so when Jim Irsay gave his followers the opportunity to win tickets to the draft and asked who the Colts drafted the last time the draft was in Chicago, minor didn’t hesitate to answer and won the tickets without googling the answer!
Irsay & the Colts hooked Minor up with two 4th row tickets at the Auditorium Theatre and a room at the Hilton Hotel in an executive suite.
We made sure to get downtown early to scope everything out & experience “Draft Town” before we had to head inside to see who the Buccaneers who were going to select with their 1st overall pick in the draft. Outside at Draft Town, we were able to meet Bill Polian & former Superbowl Champion NFL Quarterback Kurt Warner.
Once inside the auditorium theatre, we made our way over to the ESPN set, where Chris Berman, Mel Kiper & John Gruden were filming live. As most of you may know, Chris Berman is a big supporter of our mission. He and Coach Ditka are part of the reason Operation Warrior Wishes has had the opportunity to give back to almost 1000 heroes since we began our original mission in 2012.
I made a book showcasing our 2014 “All32in17” mission to give to Chris and planned to give it to him before the Draft began. Unfortunately he was busy working, so We made our way to our seats and met NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell before the draft “Kicked off.”
Veterans and wounded warriors took the stage to sing the national anthem and the Buccaneers were on the clock. We had some of the best seats in the house. 4 rows away from the stage where Roger Godell was about to call out the names of tomorrows superstars. Little did we know, each player drafted would be exiting the stage right next to us which gave us the opportunity to congratulate them, take pictures & get autographs from almost every player drafted that was in attendance!
The Buccaneers Surprised nobody and selected Jameis Winston with their first overall pick. Jameis was not in attendance, and neither was the 2nd overall pick in the draft, Marcus Mariota, who was drafted by the Tennessee Titans.
I personally was most excited to see the Bears select Kevin White, wide receiver from West Virginia, with the 7th overall pick. As Kevin exited the stage, Minor was able to get him to sign his first autograph as a professional athlete on a Warrior Wishes poster.
Leonard Williams, Vic Beasley, Ereck Flowers, Trae Waynes, Danny Shelton, DeVante Parker, Melvin Gordon, Kevin Johnson, Cameron Erving, Cedric Ogbuehi, Bud Dupree, Shayne Ray, Byron Jones & Laken Tomlinson all took the time to take pictures & signed their first autographs as professional athletes on the poster.
We truly had the best seats in the house! It was an incredible experience that wasnt over yet…
After the patriots selected Malcom Brown with their 32nd pick and the first day of the draft was completed, we made our way back over to the ESPN set to try and get Chris Berman’s attention. Chris was happy to see us and was more than excited to meet minor, thank him for his service & take a few minutes to hang out. He loved the book & couldnt wait to open the pages to read about the warriors we hosted throughout the 2014 NFL season. It’s an honor to call Chris & many others at ESPN friends.
It was a perfect way to end a perfect night!
I would like to personally thank Minor for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the NFL Draft experience. It’s an honor to call this Marine a friend & I am forever grateful for his service to our country. We are proud to have him as a part of our Warrior Wishes team.
Minor is also a business owner. Through his business he helps support Operation Warrior Wishes & helps us make Warrior Wishes come true! If you live in the Chicagoland area and ever need auto repairs, help support this veteran owned business & visit his shop, Excel Automotive Repair, tell him Operation Warrior Wishes sent you!
I’ll be going home to get to work first thing in the morning & My Dad will be taking a 15 hour overnight bus to make Warrior Wishes come true at the Rangers games tomorrow at our 32nd game of hosting heroes in 30 days on our Battlefields to Ballfields Mission.