My dad wasn’t even home for 24 hours after making Wishes come true in Cincinnati before he was taking off to Pittsburgh for our 5th game this season. So far, we have made warrior wishes come true in New England, Chicago, Minnesota & Cincinnati.
Thanks to some cheap airfare, my dad was treated to a flight instead of a bus ride to the steel city.
Since my dad’s flight didn’t arrive until 11:30pm, He was planning on spending Wednesday night at the airport. But thanks to our friend George, he picked my dad up upon his arrival and let him crash at his place for the night.
My dad was up early Thursday morning to meet up with Lynn & Dave from Comcast at the Marriott hotel. Lynn & Dave graciously donated a few of their Comcast Suite tickets to make warrior Wishes come true for Marine CPL Brandon Rumbaugh & Army Sgt Garry Thompson Jr. (Meet the warriors below)
CPL Rumbaugh was actually one of our first guests ever when we hosted warriors at the Steelers game in 2012. It’s truly amazing to call him a friend. Brandon never gives up, he is always looking for opportunities to help other veterans & he is an inspiration to us all.
Army SGT Garry Thompson Jr was nominated to us by his wife a few years ago. We have been trying to make this wish come true, but the timing never worked out. We are extremely excited to finally be making SGT Thompson’s wish come true at the steelers game!
While picking up the tickets in the exact same spot he met Lynn & Dave earlier this year when he hosted warriors at the Penguins game, my dad noticed a few Air Force guys who were performing the flyover at the game. He invited them to stop up at the suite during the game to meet the warriors & snapped this awesome photo.
With the tickets in hand, my dad made his way to the “Jerome Bettis Grille” to meet the warriors for an early lunch. SGT Thompson and his son arrived a first. There was a really cool Vietnam memorial just outside the restaurant, so they took a few minutes to check it out before heading inside to eat.
CPL Rumbaugh & his fiancée arrived shortly after everyone was seated & everyone got to know each other over a delicious meal.
For obvious reasons, Jerome Bettis’ Grille is one of the premier dining spots before and after all steelers home games. The sports themed restaurant features a great atmosphere that is the perfect place to visit when you want to have a drink and some tasty food with your friends. Their menu offers up some great appetizers including edamame, nachos, wings, sliders, fries and street tacos. Some of the great main courses include the hand-cut rib eye, cedar-planked salmon and a grilled BBQ burrito. And if you’re really hungry, You might want to try the “36”, which is 36 ounces of bone-in beef!
My dad really enjoyed catching up with Brandon & meeting Garry over lunch. Samantha & CJ took great care of us & we cannot thank them enough for providing a delicious meal & the perfect meeting place for today’s game!
After lunch, everyone walked over to Heinz field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Over the years we have made some unforgettable memories at Heinz field.
In 2014, we even had the opportunity to host a warrior on a tour of the stadium. It’s one of the coolest venues in the NFL! My favorite part of the tour was having the opportunity to browse the memorabilia in the “Great Hall.” The Great Hall is Part museum and part Hall of Fame. It showcases some of the greatest moments in the Steelers history and the men who made them. There are lockers and bleachers from Three Rivers Stadium, replicas of the Steelers’ six Super Bowl trophies, banners, murals and ton of unique memorabilia scattered throughout the hall. It’s truly incredible!
My dad escorted the warriors to the stadium & Lynn met them at Gate C to take them up to the Comcast Suite as their Special Guests. During the game, the mascot & Air Force guys who did the flyover stopped by to thank the warriors for their service.
Everyone enjoyed watching the Steelers dominate the Vikings in the suite as they coasted to a 26-9 victory.
My dad met back up with the guys after the game to thank the warriors one last time before making his way to Atria’s to meet up with some Warrior Wishes “Alumni” for dinner. It was great to catch up with Army Veteran Jonathan Stewart !
Operation Warrior Wishes couldn’t have made these wishes come true without the support of Lynn & Dave from Comcast, who provided the “Suite” seats! Thank You!
We also want to thank George for giving my dad a place to stay & for providing transportation, Jerome Bettis Grille for providing the amazing pregame meal, Atrias for providing the post game “Alumni” meal & New Era for providing new Steelers caps to the warriors!
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!
Most importantly we want to thank Marine Cpl Brandon Rumbaugh, Army Sgt Garry Thompson & Army Sgt Jonathan Stewart for their service & sacrifices.
My dad is hopping on overnight bus heading to New York to make Wishes come true at tomorrow’s Giants game. Stay tuned for more details!
MEET THE WARRIORS
Marine CPL Brandon Rumbaugh
Brandon Rumbaugh joined the Marines at the age of 18 in November 2007 as an 81mm mortar gunner with the 1st Battalion, 8thMarines. In March 2009, he deployed for the first time to Iraq for seven months in March 2009. Shortly after returning home, he deployed to Afghanistan, where he served as squad leader.
On Nov. 29, 2010, Corporal Rumbaugh had just returned to an outpost from a combat patrol with the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines, and was responding to the scene of an improvised explosive device (IED) blast involving one of his good friends outside the compound in Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
Carrying a stretcher, and rushing with his team to aid the injured Marine, Brandon stepped on a second IED resulting in the traumatic amputations of his right leg at the hip and his left leg below the knee. Medically evacuated by helicopter, Cpl Rumbaugh was treated at Camp Bastion before being airlifted to Landstuhl, Germany. Next, he was transferred to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. in Bethesda, Maryland, spending a total of 18 months receiving treatments and therapies.
Since moving into his specially adapted custom home (Thanks to Homes For Our Troops) in April 2014, Brandon has become an advocate for his fellow Veterans and community. He has been supporting Veterans going through difficult times by working for a nonprofit called, It’s About the Warrior Foundation (IATW). The organization helps assist and empower post 9/11 Veterans in his area with financial, educational, recreational, and therapeutic needs. As a board member, Brandon oversees the grant and application process and all new member registrations. He is also in the process of opening his own nonprofit to support fellow Veterans in his community. He has become motivational speaker, often sharing his personal story with audiences ranging from corporate executives to college hockey teams and elementary school students. In November 2015, Brandon spent the month living outside to raise awareness and funds for homeless Veterans.
Brandon is currently pursuing a college education to obtain his business degree at Penn State. He enjoys weightlifting, baseball, basketball, and shooting. He would like to compete the weightlifting division in the Paralympic Games in the future.
Brandon says he feels fortunate to be in a position to give back by helping others. “HFOT has secured my future, not only with a beautiful fully accessible house but with a forever network of volunteers I know I can count on in any aspect of my life,” he says.
“I just woke up one morning and thought, ‘This is stupid; there are a lot of guys a lot worse off than you. There are guys who lost two arms and two legs. Heck, there are guys who are dead,’ I reminded myself,” he said.
“I just really want to help anyone who wants to be inspired, to be motivated. I always tell people that I can guarantee you 110 percent that there is someone worse off than you who is pushing through it and moving forward right now,” he said.
As we mentioned before, CPL Rumbaugh was one of our first guests ever when we made wishes come true in Pittsburgh in 2012. We have been truly inspired by Brandon’s never give up attitude and his willingess to go above and beyond to help others in need. It is an absolute honor to call Brandon a friend!
If you would like to learn more about Cpl. Brandon Rumbaugh’s “It’s About The Warrior Foundation or would like to book him to speak visit https://www.facebook.com/Itsaboutthewarrior/
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!