It’s been an honor to host warriors and make wishes come true at 33 NFL games this season!

My dad got back from Seattle Tuesday afternoon and got to spend a little time back at home with the grand kids before heading back out on the road Thursday morning.

This Thursday is a little different than most Thursday night games because it’s Thanksgiving.  Everyone here at Operation Warrior Wishes has a lot to be thankful for.  From the families we love, to the warriors who protect us and give us the opportunity to be with them, we’re thankful.  To all the supporters of our mission who have donated money, meals tickets & time, we are thankful.  We truly couldn’t make all this possible without you all!  We want to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!

For the past 5 years my dad has made his way north to spend thanksgiving with warriors in Detroit at the Lions game.  But this season, it worked out better for my dad to go east to DC and make wishes come true at the Redskins game.

My dad definitely misses spending thanksgiving with family, but it’s a small sacrifice compared to the ones that the brave men, women & families have made for us.

Today we had the honor of hosting Marine Cpl Scott Smith & his family at the game.

James ‘Scott’ Smith joined the United States Marine Corps in 2006 knowing he wanted to serve once 9/11 happened.  CPL Smith was stationed at MCAS Cherry Point, NC.  He served one tour overseas in Iraq and was part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.  He has been awarded the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Rifle Expert Badge, Pistol Expert Badge (2nd Awd).  He has recently completed training through the K9s for Warriors program where he was paired with his service dog, Maddy.  Scott currently resides with his wife, two children and has another daughter on the way!  Scott was nominated by his wife and is actually a Giants fan.  So he will be rooting for big blue!

Ted Abela AKA “Tailgate Ted” from the Hail Crew BBQ offered to host the Scott family at their Thanksgiving tailgate despite wearing the visiting teams colors. Ted recently had his ride “tackled” by the guys from “Tackle My Ride.”  His tricked out van was pretty awesome!

Tailgate & Ted and his crew made an amazing Thanksgiving dinner!  CPL Scott & his family enjoyed the delicious spread  & pregame entertainment.  The kids didn’t hesitate to get in the action and jumped right into playing a giant game of Jenga & cornhole with the tailgaters.

Chloe, CPL Smith’s daughter, was in heaven when the Redskins
Cheerleaders stopped by to perform right in front of her. She even got in the action & began dancing with them.  It made her night!

As game time approached, everyone thanked Ted & his crew before making their way inside FedEx field to watch the Redskins kick things off against the visiting New York Giants.

After walking the Smith family into the stadium, my dad met up with Mike Cain & a few of his friends back at the tailgate.  Mike is a friend & a wounded warrior that we have been honored to host at multiple events since our mission began.  My dad always enjoys catching up with him.  Although Tailgate Ted had already begun to break down the tailgate, he still had plenty of food prepared for them to eat before the game.

Eventually my dad made his way inside the stadium and met back up with the Smith family after he organized a shuttle for them back to their hotel after the game.  Due to the holiday, the last train left at 10:30, so my dad had to leave the game early to catch the last train of the night to the airport.

The Giants & Redskins were tied at 10 in the 3rd quarter when my dad grabbed some hot chocolate for the smith family to warm them up on this chilly night.  He also said goodbye because he had to catch that train.

Unfortunately for CPL Smith, the Redskins put together a TD drive late in 4th Qtr & beat the Giants 17-10.  Despite his team losing, he & his family enjoyed the experience.

My dad confirmed they made it safely back to their hotel after the game as he headed to Reagan Airport to get some sleep.

Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank “Tailgate Ted” and his “Hail Crew BBQ” for the amazing Thanksgiving Feast & for their hospitality!  We also would like to thank New Era for providing the Caps and Shawn at the Marriott for breakfast vouchers and transportation.

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, thanks to Cpl Scott & his family for their service & sacrifices!  We salute you!

As I mentioned before, my dad’s spending the night at the airport & will be back in action on Sunday making Wishes come true at the Patriots game!  Stay tuned for more details!