My dad kicked off week 11 making Warrior Wishes come true at the Panthers game in Charlotte on Thursday.  He spent a night in Charlotte before getting a “great” night of “quality” sleep on an overnight Megabus…  my dad said he fell asleep the second he sat down and woke up Saturday morning in DC. 

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This is our 2nd trip to DC this season.  Here are some of our favorite memories from making Warrior Wishes come true at Redskins games.  

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My dad always likes the DC trips because there is so much to do & see.  From the free Smithsonian museums to the National Mall, the White House, Walter Reed & Arlington National Cemetery,  there is no shortage of things to do.

As soon as my dad got into town, he met up with former Guest warrior Michael Cain at Buffalo Wild Wings to watch the Wisconsin Badgers college football game.  He is originally from Wisconsin and is actually going to the Redskins – Packers game too.  Thankfully Mike brought my dad his tickets to the game as he forgot them when he left for Charlotte earlier in the week & I had to overnight them to Mike.

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When my dad went in to Buffalo Wild Wings to meet Sgt Cain it was 70 degrees and sunny. Mike only had an hour or so before he had to get back home & my dad stayed longer.  When my dad left 2 hours later, it was pouring rain and 45 degrees.  It was a huge change from when he arrived.  He hopped on a bus to take him to the airport for the night where he acted like a turkey & got a little sleep.

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My dad caught the Metro first thing in the morning to make his annual visit to Arlington Cemetery. He does this ever year, stopping to pay his respect to the ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us.  Arlington Cemetery is one of the most powerful places in the World.  Pictures don’t do it justice.

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After spending the entire morning at Arlington, my dad headed back downtown. He was hoping to squeeze in an afternoon Capitals Hockey game in for a veteran and his wife who were nominated a couple years ago, but the timing was just a little to tight and it didn’t work out. So my dad headed to the McDonalds by stadium to meet the warriors.  

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While he was in DC preparing for the Redskins Sunday night game, Bengals Coach Kevin Caskey was making Warrior Wishes come true at the Bengals game!

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We were honored to be hosting Army Sgt Michael Trost, his wife Stephanie, and Navy Warrior Shruti Kapur. My dad gave them their Parking Passes and we headed to the stadium . 

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Throughout the day the weather progressively got worse.  As fine time approached, temperatures dropped into 20’s and winds picked up to almost 40 Miles per hour!  We have been extremely lucky over the four plus years of our Mission. We have hosted over 2000 heroes at 650 events and have only had 1 rainout/snowout ever!  On May 9th 2014 a snowstorm rolled through Denver that cancelled the Rockies game that we were honoring a Fallen Hero and 3 active duty soldiers on field.

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For the most part – knock on wood – we have only had 2 or 3 other weather issues of any significance that have interfered with making Warrior Wishes come true.  There was Brett Favre’s  Retirement in Green Bay where it was 35 and raining sideways.

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And when we made warrior wishes come true on Veterans Day of 2012 in Pittsburgh.  It was 33 degrees & pouring down rain!  Matt and I call cold rain “Pittsburgh Rain”.  I still remember my dad doing his best to hold onto an umbrella that was blowing sideways, trying to keep the horizontal sleet off of Marine Brandon Rumbaugh’s dress blues.  

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My dad said that the weather in DC was probably one the next worst conditions – it wasn’t raining BUT the 20 degree temperature and 40 mile an hour winds certainly affected the nights activities.  Luckily Fed Ex had provided Parking Passes in Lot A – 50 yards from the entrance. My dad asked nearby tailgaters  if he could pay them to allow our 5 guests tailgate there.  It was so windy they couldn’t even keep plates, napkins or even the food on the table.  The tailgaters refused the money but did invite the warriors to grab a bite to eat and went back and forth from the tailgate to their warm cars. 

Mike Cain & his friend Casey met up with everyone before heading inside the stadium.  Navy Warrior Shruti Kapur actually knew both Mike and Casey. So despite the terrible weather conditions everyone had a good time.  

Everyone made their way inside the stadium.  The Warriors were treated to field passes thanks to FedEx!   Thankfully it was a little warmer down on the field.  My dad gave Casey and Mike his Field Passes so he got some photos from the stands, while the others got their own pics on the field.

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Luckily the seats were in the club level which gave everyone the chance to warm up before kickoff. 

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One of my dads most memorable moments of the evening was Seeing Sgt Trost – who just had his foot amputated in April and still recovering, STOOD UP TO HONOR HIS COUNTRY during the National Anthem!!!  Although he did not need help to stand up, both Shruti and My dad held on to him from each side to help him balance.  My dad said it was “Very Powerful.”  SGT Trost, you are a true American hero & a patriot!  

The game got off to a slow start.  With gusty winds & cold weather both Quarterbacks struggles to move the ball down the field.  The Redskins went into the 4th quarter leading 22-10.  

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The teams took turns scoring in the 4th quarter, James Starks scored on the first play of the quarter. Two plays later, the Cousins connected with Pierre Garçon on a 70 yard TD pass, then Jared Cook scored for the Packers.  The Redskins offense got the last laugh scoring 2 late game Touchdowns to win by the score of 42-24.  

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SEE ALL THE PHOTOS FROM THE REDSKINS EXPERIENCE HERE!

Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Rebecca and Clare at FedEx for donating tickets and Field Passes to make Warrior Wishes come true for the 4th consecutive year!  We also want to thank the N2 Tailgate Group for hosting the warriors at their tailgate, New Era Cap for providing the Redskins caps and Chive Charities for their continued support!

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we want to thank Navy Warrior Shruti Kapur, Army Sgt Michael Cain, his Army friend Casey and Army Sgt Michael Trost for their service & sacrifices to our country! 

My dad will actually get a “night off” tomorrow evening, as the Monday Night Game is in Mexico.  He will be back in action on Thursday for our annual Thanksgiving day game in Detroit.  Stay tuned for more details!

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MEET THE WARRIORS

ARMY SGT MICHAEL TROST

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Michael Trost joined the Army on July 20th, 1982.  He proudly served our country for more than 30 years!  On 20 February 2012 I was shot 5 times by a Taliban infiltrator that was an Afghan National Police. This Taliban shot 2 Albanian Soldiers (killing CPT Feti Volgi and wounding CPL Aleksander Peci) and myself with a machine gun (7.62 x 54 PKM) while a USAID Representative investigated Schools that the US military built in the small village of Robat 1 and 2 outside Spin Boldak Afghanistan. I was medevac to Kandahar Role 3 for initial surgery and then flown to Landstuhl Germany for 3 more surgeries, When I reached Walter Reed in Bethesda MD I had a severed Sciatic nerve in my right leg, atrophy in my right calf, drop foot in the right foot. I had Mrsa in my perineum where 3 bullets had exited, I had bullet holes in my right thigh, left thigh (size of a baseball), left buttock, right buttock. I spent 10 months at Walter Reed learning how to walk again. I racked up 31 Surgeries including a 13-hour cadaver sciatic nerve transplant in my right leg. I maintained a 7 to 8 out of 10 on the pain scale in my right leg for the next 4 years. The right leg limb salvage did not work, So, on April 18, 2016 I had a below the knee amputation of my right leg back at Walter Reed. However, my bone was infected with 5 different types bacteria so I had a revision surgery. My right leg finally closed and I should be in my new leg by January 2017. I now have 34 surgeries under my belt and my pain level now ranges from 0 to 3. My wife Stephanie and I have lived in Bethesda for the better part of 8 months. I owe my recovery to the fine Surgeons, Doctors, Nurses, Medics, Wound care, pain teams, infectious diseases teams, etc. I also could have never recovered without the love and care of my wife Stephanie who is my Hero!

RETIRED E-5 SHRUTI KAPUR

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My story begins when i moved to the country at young age of 9 or 10 from India, which makes me second generation immigrant. Our family views United States as the land of opportunity and freedom, which is the reason why we moved. I joined the United States Navy at 22 because i wanted to get experience and financial help for my college but what i got from it was much more than i ever dreamed : Camaraderie , Fraternity for life and to be part of rich culture of the United States Armed Forces. My first duty station was onboard USS Nitze-DDG94, where i was CRYPTOLOGICAL TECHNICIAN TECHNICAL (CTT) and as E-3 and got to deploy as part of OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM. Being on the ship made me realize the freedom i took for granted, and how the hard work our men and women do affect our daily lives back at home; when you are a sitting duck in middle of enemy territory-even at sea- you realize how much of what we do here affects the world around us. My second tour of duty  at National Reconnaissance Office, was spent as supporting the training effort for the guys in the forefront of the fight. This is where i realize what it takes to train the services from wargaming aspect to the real fight on the ground. This is also my last duty station, where i realized how the there is a side of military that recently has recently been talked about: Veterans Mental Health. This is also a topic which was not talked about by many of US veterans because we thought it is a sign of weakness. I was in Walter Reed for the rest of my time in the military because PTSD at the time, i thought, got the best of me but my medical team at Walter Reed, along with support of my family and close friends helped me get through the treatment. Today, two years out of military as medically retired , i still have the pride of sailor in my daily life (I miss wearing the uniform dearly) but i continue to support the warfighter in the forefront as intelligence analyst with BOOZ ALLEN HAMILTON and  found my new purpose in life in volunteering in a non-profit for veterans and help them connect to the local community through social and physical activity and support my fellow brothers and sister in Arms past & Present. My motto in life will always be : Raise awareness about veterans mental health  and Find a purpose in life bigger than myself.

Don’t forget to nominate your hero for an upcoming game on our 2016 “All32in17” Mission!

2016 ALL32IN17 Schedule

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Contact Craig for more information about the mission (630) 339-6714