Immediately after making Warrior Wishes come true at the Patriots game in New England…
My dad made his way back to Boston to catch a 5 am flight to New Orleans to make more wishes come true in the “Big Easy.”
We have made some unforgettable memories with some amazing warriors throughout the years in the Crescent City. From looking for gators on the swamp tour, to watching the Ravens win Superbowl XLVII. I’ll never forget the smile on the warriors faces when they were gifted game balls on the sidelines We had the opportunity to host a huge group of warriors in the Mercedes Benz suite and got powdered sugar all over us eating beignets after the game.
New Orleans is one of the most unique places in the country and one of our favorite city’s to visit. They have amazing food, spooky cemeteries, Gators, Voodoo, Bourbon Street, Beignets and the New Orleans Saints! It’s a place to put on your bucket list if you have never been before!
After a quick layover in Charlotte, my dad arrived in New Orleans just before noon and immediately made his way to meet up with Army Sgt Jack Walker and his kids at one of our favorite places in the city, The Cajun Pride Swamp Tour.
The Cajun Pride Swamp tour has been helping us make Warrior Wishes come true since we started our mission in 2012. Paul and his crew have gone above and beyond to provide a very unique and authentic bayou experience. Captain Tom, in his thick Cajun accent, shares his swamp stories as we take a boat through the swamp looking for gators. He can spot them from a mile away! Before the tour is over, he brings out a baby gator for everyone to hold and take pictures with! Sgt Walker and his kids had a great time on the tour!
My dad enjoyed getting to know Jack. He was nominated to us in 2018 by our friend TJ, an Army veteran we hosted in Denver. TJ and Jack met on a cross country Can Am Spyder “Road Warrior Foundation” ride. Click here to Check out their journey!
Jack joined the Army at the age of 19. On February 3, 2005, while serving in Iraq, Jack was on a presence patrol when his Humvee was hit by an IED. He was the gunner and ejected 40-60 meters out of the hummer. SGT Sean Michael Cooley made the ultimate sacrifice that day. Sgt Walker suffered a spinal cord injury, TBI and continues to battle PTSD. Since the accident, from time to time Jack loses his balance without warning. In June, 2013 he lost his balance and fell, causing a compound fracture to his ankle. After multiple surgeries and 6 months trying to save his leg, he had to have his left leg amputated below the knee on December 31, 2013.
Today, Jack enjoys spending time with his kids. One day he would like to one day start a “Boy to Man” outreach program to work with young boys who don’t have a father in their lives to teach them to become productive men and fathers in the future. He coaches both youth baseball and football, volunteers when he can and enjoys doing mission work.
TJ says Jack is a “great father and an awesome human” he and his kids are “Huge Saints fans!” TJ wanted to give Jack and his family this experience because he wanted to put a smile on their faces. It was an honor to have the opportunity to host him and his kids at the game!
After the Swamp tour they made their way back downtown to the Superdome to tailgate with the Saints super fans! Our friend Ben, AKA Cyborg Saint, and his wild group of saints super fans have been welcoming warriors to their tailgate for years. It’s always a lot of fun!
We also had the opportunity to host an old friend at the game too. Army SPC Jeffrey Argrave was one of our original guests on our 2012 mission. On May 30, 2010 Jeff Argrave’s life changed forever. His team was relieving guard when they were attacked by a Rocket Propelled Grenade. Jeffrey was hit in the neck, with shrapnel passing through right below his left ear, and breaking a C-5 vertebra. Jeff nearly died on the battlefield. Once he was airlifted back to the united states, Jeff was told he would be in a wheel chair for the rest of his life as he was paralyzed from the attack. Jeff heard what the doctors were saying, but was determined to prove them wrong. With hard work and a never give up attitude, he proved all of his doctors wrong and learned to walk again! He is an true inspiration and my dad enjoyed reconnecting with him at the game!
As game time approached, the warriors made their way inside the Mercedes Benz Superdome to watch the Saints kickoff their 2019 season against the Houston Texans.
They got to watch an unbelievably exciting game from great seats! The Saints kicked a 47 yard field goal to take a 6 point lead with 50 seconds left in the 4th quarter. But the Texans didn’t give up. Just 13 seconds later, Desaun Watson connected with Kenny Stills to tie the game! The Texans missed the extra point, but a roughing the kicker penalty gave them a second chance to take the lead with 37 seconds left in the game.
But much like the warriors, when everyone said it wasn’t possible, the Saints didn’t give up. Drew Brees led the team into field goal range to set up a 58 yard field goal opportunity for the win. Saints kicker, Will Lutz drilled the ball through the uprights and made his career long field goal with no time on the clock to give the Saints the win!
Needless to say, the warriors and the city of New Orleans went wild and celebrated to victory! It was the perfect ending to another awesome mission!
Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Sgt Jack Walker and Spc Jeffrey Argrave for their selfless service, sacrifices and never give up attitudes. It was an honor to host you both!
My dad will be back home to watch the grandkids on Wednesday before heading back to Charlotte Thursday morning to make Warrior Wishes come true at the Panthers game! Stay tuned for more details…