My dad really enjoyed a few “days off” after making Warrior Wishes come true at the Sunday night Redskins game.

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On Wednesday night, he jumped on an Overnight bus from Chicago to Detroit to celebrate Thanksgiving making Warrior Wishes come true at the Lions game for the 4th time in the last 5 years!  

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Here are some of our favorite memories we have made making Warrior Wishes come true in Detroit.

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The original plan was to host 4 warriors at the game, but thanks to our friend, Lions QB, Dan Orlovsky, our Thanksgiving Day “Family” increased from 4 to 12!  

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For most of us, Thanksgiving Day is a day for getting together with family and discussing what we are thankful for. For the past 4 of the past 5 years, our “family” has been the Warriors we have hosted at Ford Field & we are thankful for their service and sacrifices!  

Dan was able to provide 12 tickets to the Thanksgiving game.  One day before the game we only had 6 guests.  So my dad scrambled to find more warriors to host at the game.  Thankfully we had a few extra nominations and we were able to fill all the seats!  

 Coincidentally, all the warriors we were hosting served in the Army. It was an honor to host Sgt Justin Lindley with his 12 year old son Trent and stepdad Rich, Sgt Russ Markel, Sgt Justin Weis, Army Warrior Dennis Leppek, Sgt Davin Dumar with his dad & service dog Layla, Last but not least was Army Sgt Nick Koulchar, his wife, brother & our youngest guest ever, their 4 month old son Finnegan.  

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Although these warriors missed out on their favorite thanksgiving dishes with their families at home, they were all treated to one of the biggest & best thanksgiving tailgates in Detroit!  

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Our friend Bill has been hosting us at his “Tubgators” tailgate for each of the 5 years of our mission and puts together an incredible Thanksgiving feast complete with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie and he even has Pilgrims and Indians attending!  

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Other than eating outside in the cold it is your typical Thanksgiving meal that you would have at home.  Bill really captures that true Thanksgiving tradition in the food and the message/ prayer he gives before the meal.  We are thankful for his support!  

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The Tubgators have another tradition that may not be so “traditional.” The tailgate is called the Tubgators because there is a Hot Tub – yes I said Hot Tub – available for all to partake in , no matter the weather! 

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This is always a fun part of the day, because many other tailgaters come by to see who is brave enough to go in it – it has been snowing and below freezing a couple years but people continue their tradition & take the plunge.

Everyone met my dad at corner of Russell and Fisher at Eastern Market.  He then guided them to the tailgate. The Warriors & families were surprised at both the amazing feast, as well as the equally amazing…or at least crazy , hot tub…

After everyone stuffed their belly’s, my dad handed out letters to the Warriors from students thanking them for their service and brand new New Era Lions caps!

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They walked over to the stadium to meet up with SGT Nick Koulchar, who couldn’t make the tailgate because he ran a 5k before the game.  

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Despite being a double amputee, Nick is one of those guys who never gives up and always challenges himself to do more.  He is an incredible man and a true inspiration!

It was a low scoring defensive battle.  The Vikings & lions looked as if they were headed to overtime tied 13-13 with 38 seconds left on the clock.  However, Vikings QB, Sam Bradford took the snap  & did the unthinkable, throwing an interception to set up the Lions for a chip shot field goal to win the game sending the stadium into a frenzy!  

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Operation warrior wishes would like to thank Dan and Tiffany Orlovsky for going above and beyond again to make Wishes come true at the Lions game.  Tiffany and Dan’s sister  Lauren came up at halftime to visit with, and say thank you to the Warriors, which was greatly appreciated by all of them!

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We also want to thank Bill & the Tubgators for hosting everyone for a delicious Thanksgiving feast, New Era Cap for the Lions caps and Chive Charities for providing the KCCO shirts!  

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!  

Most importantly, we want to thank to all the warriors for your service and sacrifices to our country!  It’s appreciated, doesn’t go unnoticed and will never be forgotten!  Read more about the Warriors below.

My dad hopped on a bus back to Chicago immediately following the game.  He will be on a 15 hour bus ride to Atlanta on Saturday to make Warrior Wishes come true at the Falcons game!  Stay tuned for more details!

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MEET THE WARRIORS

ARMY SGT JUSTIN LINDLEY

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Justin, joined the Army right out of high-school.  His first duty station was in Germany, then he deployed to Iraq several times.  During his last deployment, his Humvee was hit by an IED and now he is 100% disabled.  He suffers from a spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, post traumatic stress disorder, partial vision loss, partial hearing loss, chronic pain and the list goes on.  Justin & his wife, Jasmine have five children & he recently got a service dog this past year (who is still in training) but “Gunner” has been a huge help for Justin thus far.
Justin is is a HUGE Detroit Lions Fan !!  I’m talking die hard… Justin’s wife nominated him for this experience.  She said “He absolutely deserves it more then anyone I know.  Even with all of his injuries (physical and invisible), he still puts his family first and I would love for him to be first one time.”
It was an honor to make this wish come true and host SGT Lindley at the Lions game.

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

2016 ALL32IN17 Schedule

Facebook “Operation Warrior Wishes”

Twitter “@WarriorWishes”

Instagram “@WarriorWishes

www.WarriorWishes.org

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