So far this season, we have made Warrior Wishes come true at 15 NFL games!
My dad kicked off week 5 in Tampa, flew to Houston to make Wishes come true at the Texans game & flew home first thing Monday morning and prepared to host warriors at the Bears Monday night matchup against the Vikings!
I used my lunch hour to pick my dad up from the train station at around 11am. He looked exhausted. He said he had slept a total of 8 hours in the past 3 days & hadn’t slept in a bed since last Wednesday! I don’t know how he does it….
But as they say, the show must go on. My dad had 2 hours to spend at home before he had to catch the train back downtown to meet up with the warriors.
Most of you know that my dad gets paid in nothing but smiles. He doesn’t do this for recognition, or to go to games or to travel the country. He makes warrior wishes come true because he loves giving back to the brave men & women who selflessly serve us. His travel schedule isn’t glamorous & he spends a lot of nights sleeping at airports and bus stations because he doesn’t want to spend the money we raise on operating costs. He wants to use that money to give back to more warriors.
So even though he was thoroughly exhausted, he will tell you that when he met up with the warriors & got to see the smiles on their faces “That’s why I do it!” It’s truly amazing that we have had the opportunity to host more than 3000 warriors at more than 600 events since we started our father & son mission in 2012. It wouldn’t have all been possible without my dad’s dedication & hard work. I’m definitely proud to call him my dad!
Back to today’s mission. My dad cleaned up and quickly made his way to the train station to go downtown and meet up with the warriors. Today we had the honor of hosting Army SSG Chris Hemwall & Army Private Malcolm Franklin at the Bears game.
Throughout the years we have made some unforgettable memories making Wishes come true at Soldier Field!
He met up with the warriors at Whole Foods for lunch before the game. Army Sgt Chris Hemwall and his wife, were first to arrive.
Christopher Hemwall joined the Army in September of 2008 as a 19 Delta cavalry Scout. After training he was stationed in Vilseck Germany with the Second Stryker Cavalry Regiment (2SCR) for a little over a year before being deployed to Afghanistan in May 2010. He spent 10 months there before he was injured in an ambush attack on March 19, 2011. He was shot three times (lower back butt and right thigh) He spent 21 months at the hospital going through rehabilitation to keep his right leg.
In November of 2012, Chris & his wife became parents and two months later Chris ended up having to having to amputate his right leg below the knee due to the atrophy being so severe. He and his family spent the next few years at Walter Reed and on January 27, 2015 SSG Hemwall was medically retired from the Army after serving a little over six years and 4 months of active duty. Today, Christopher is currently a full time student at Eastern Michigan University studying criminal justice. Chris is from Michigan, and most of his family cheer for the Lions, but somehow Chris became a huge Bears fan! My dad really enjoyed getting to know him over lunch.
He also enjoyed getting to know Army Private Malcolm Franklin. He was nominated to us by the Aurora National Guard. Malcolm never misses a Bears game on TV. He was very excited for the opportunity to attend his first ever Bears game! He was equally as excited to meet SSG Hemwall. Malcolm is just getting started with his military career so he asked Chris a lot of questions about the Army & military throughout the night. Chris took the time to answer his questions & he was very thankful for the information.
After a great meal thanks to Whole Foods, my dad handed out thank you letters to the warriors, presented them with new Bears caps courtesy of New Era & they made their way to Soldier Field to watch the Vikings & Bears kick things off!
They stopped by the Meijer fan fest to have some fun and take some pictures before heading inside. At the fan fest, they met former bears players Rashied Davis & Steve Edwards.
As game time approached, they headed inside for the National Anthem. The guys were treated to a very exciting game. Bears Rookie QB, Mitchell Trubisky made his debut & the stadium was electric!
The Bears defense put them on the scoreboard first after sacking QB Sam Bradford in he end zone for a safety to take a 2-0 lead. The Vikings answered with a field goal and took a 3-2 into halftime.
After a defensive battle in the first half, the offenses came to life in the 2nd half. A quick 3rd quarter TD by the Vikings extended their lead to 8. Then the Bears fooled everyone with a fake punt which resulted in a Touchdown for the home team. The Warriors & chicago fans went wild!!!
Less than 2 minutes later, Vikings RB, Jerrick McKinnon scored on a 58 yard scamper.
Trailing by 8 in the 4th quarter, Mitchell Trubisky marched the bears down the field & connected with Zach Miller for his first ever NFL touchdown pass. The TD gave the bears the opportunity to tie the game. The Bears used some trickery to successfully convert the 2 point conversion & the game was tied at 17. It appeared as if the game was headed to overtime. But an interception with just over 2 minutes left in the game led to a Vikings field goal to win the game.
Despite the loss, the warriors had a lot of fun & a memorable experience at the game. We couldn’t have made it all possible without Hampton inn in Elgin who provided accommodations for the Hemwalls, New Era who provided Bears caps, Whole Foods who provided a delicious meal & our friend Jon Puklin who provided tickets to make these wishes come true!
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!
Most importantly, we want to thank Army Sgt Christopher Hemwall and Army Pvt Malcolm Franklin for their service & dedication to our country!
After the game, my dad headed home to get some much needed & well deserved rest in his own bed. He has a few days off before he heads to Carolina to make Warrior Wishes come true at Thursday night’s Panthers game. Stay tuned for more details!
It was an honor to host these brave warriors and make their Warrior Wishes come true. If you know a deserving warrior who would love to attend a game on our “All32in17” mission please nominate them today!
Make sure to follow our mission live on Facebook Twitter & Instagram @WarriorWishes.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!