After making wishes come true at the Thursday night Vikings game in Minneapolis, my dad stopped at home for a few hours before heading south to Jacksonville.
Operation Warrior Wishes does everything we can to save money on operating expenses, so that most of our donation dollars go directly to making the Warriors wishes come true. 98% of what we take in, benefits the brave men and women who protect our country. My dad’s journey to Jacksonville is a perfect example of how we save money everywhere we can. We spent less than $2,000 on travel to host warriors at every NFL stadium across the country this season.
Flights from Chicago to Jacksonville cost more than $250 one way. So instead, my dad took the alternate route. I was able to find airfare to Atlanta for $38. From there, my dad took a train from the airport to the bus station & and jumped on a $1 overnight megabus to Jacksonville!
We have made some unforgettable memories making Warrior Wishes Come True at Jaguars games over the past 5 years.
Our friend, Erick Millette offered to pick my dad up at the bus station in Jacksonville. Erick was our first Patriots guest ever in 2012. He now lives in Jacksonville.
Erick had initially planned to pick my dad up at 5:00 AM. However, two different megabusses broke down overnight. Thankfully my dad finally arrived in Jacksonville safely around 9:30am. He barely had enough time to get to stadium to meet the other guests before kickoff. Erick & My dad met up with the warriors in front of the stadium by the “Touchdown Jaguar Statue.”
We were honored to be hosting Erick, Sgt Michael Japak with his 10 year old son, Marine Marcus Mason with his Fiancee & the Gold Star father & Uncle of Army SGT Gene Lamie. SGT Lamie made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country in 2007.
They got a great group photo in front of the stadium before heading inside to watch the Jaguars take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Broncos.
The Jacksonville Jaguars went above and beyond for the 2nd year in a row. their military liaison, Angie Nix greeted everyone at the stadium. Angie’s son is a marine & she has a deep appreciation for all who serve.
Angie handed out envelopes with everyone’s name on them and a private note to each of the Warriors & told everyone where they needed to go to get down on the field before the game. She also handed out “Jaguar dollars” so everyone could get a bite to eat too. Angie got a little emotional as she thanked each guest personally – especially Mr Lamie.
Now that everyone had their tickets & field passes, everyone headed inside to take the field. My dad said he could see the excitement on the Warriors faces as they walked through the tunnel onto the field. They got some fantastic pictures and made once in a lifetime memories on the sidelines thanks to the Jaguars.
But the Jaguars weren’t done. They had also provided Club Access as well! Unfortunately, the Jaguars have had a tough season this year. Heading into the game they were big underdogs. They put up a good fight, but fell short to the Broncos 20-10.
Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Chad, Dave, Angie and the Jacksonville Jaguars for providing tickets, field passes and an unforgettable experience to the Warriors. We would also like to thank New Era Cap for providing the Jaguars caps, Chive Charities for the KCCO T-shirts & Erick for providing transportation & a place to stay for my dad.
Most importantly, we want to thank Army Sgt Jeremy Japak, Marine Sgt Marcus Mason, Army SSG Erick Millette & the Gold Star Family of Army Sgt Gene Lamie. Your service & sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, they are appreciated, and will never be forgotten.
My dad will be making history tomorrow as he makes warrior wishes come true at the 32nd stadium in 82 days! He will fly to New York first thing in the morning. Stay tuned for more details!
Contact Craig for more information about the mission (630) 339-6714