It’s been another wild week of making Warrior Wishes come true. It all started last Thursday when my dad hosted heroes in Green Bay. Sunday he was making Wishes come true in Kansas City & Monday he made more come true in Denver!
I dropped my dad off at the airport Wednesday morning while we were on our way to host a WWII Marine at game 2 of the World Series!
My dad arrived in Nashville Wednesday evening and spent the night at the airport before heading out to meet up with the Warriors.
We have made some unforgettable memories making warrior wishes come true at Titans games over the past 4 seasons.
This weekend’s Warrior Wishes Experience has been a few weeks in the making, with some incredible partners. This past September, we got a call from LaCorte Enterprises about a project with Titans LB Avery Williamson. He had a pair of custom cleats created to honor 9/11 First Responders that he wanted to wear and then auction off. He chose Operation Warrior Wishes to donate the proceeds of the auction! (Thanks Theresa).
As the project developed, there was talk that the NFL was not going to allow him to wear them and if he did , he would be fined. The story garnered a lot of media attention, even getting on TMZ a couple times, especially when Port Authority New York Police Union offered to pay his fine. Well, as it turned out, NFL backed down and let him wear the cleats! The auction raised $6,600 of which half was donated to our mission.
The years Titans experience started at 1pm when my dad met up with Army SGT Ben McCarty & his wife at “The Escape Game.” The Escape is a very fun experience for groups of 4 to 8 people who get locked in a room and have to find clues in order for them to “escape.” The Escape Game in Nashville has been helping make Warrior Wishes come true since 2013!
Sgt McCarty’s wife surprised him when she told him he was going to be out guest for the Titans game later in the evening. He originally thought he was there to meet family. Clearly, he was not to sure what was going on, as the look on his face was priceless. Once he learned why he was REALLY there, he relaxed and we had a great time trying to escape.
Gerst Haus hosted the warriors for a delicious German meal before the game. SGT McCarty, his wife & my dad met up with the Gold Star Mom of Army Spc Jason Edens, Janet Crane and her husband Mike (also served in the Army for 9 years). They got to know a little bit about each other over dinner before making their way over to the stadium to tailgate with our new friends at Cooper Steel.
Gary Cooper, president of Cooper Steel was the winning bidder for the 9-11 cleats. He and his entire tailgate crew welcomed the warriors and Avery Williamson’s family to the tailgate with open arms & a big sign!
My dad had the opportunity to introduce the warriors to everyone at the tailgate. He made sure to thank mr. Cooper & the Williamson family for their generous donation and the opportunity to host the Warriors at today’s game! He also broke into tears as he took a moment of silence to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice made by SPC Edens.
Needless to say everyone was stuffed after eating dinner and then tailgating, So they all walked off some calories and headed into the stadium.
The Titans gave the Warriors a lot to cheer about as they jumped out to a 24-0 lead early and never looked back. They crushed the Jaguars 36-22.
After the game we met back up with Gary & Mr and Mrs Williamson so we could meet Avery and he could present the 9/11 cleats to Gary. Avery was awesome! He took plenty of time meeting and hanging out with the warriors. It was an unforgettable experience!!!
Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Theresa for recommending us to Avery, Melissa for running the project, Avery for the idea to design them and Gary for bidding. We also want to Thank Gerst Haus for providing the delicious PreGame meal, New Era for providing the Titans Caps, as well as Tom at Jack Daniels and Megan at Cooper Steel for the awesome tailgates.
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!
Most importantly THANK YOU to Army Sgt Ben McCarty, Army Sgt Mike Crane & Gold Star Mom of Fallen Hero Army Spc Jason Edens. Their service and sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, they are forever appreciated & will never be forgotten!
Don’t forget to nominate your hero for an upcoming game on our 2016 “All32in17” Mission!
Contact Craig for more information about the mission (630) 339-6714