A Salute To All Soldiers & Their Families

A Salute To All Soldiers & Their Families

After making Warrior Wishes come true and hosting a hero thanks to the Astros, my dad was able to make a surprise stop back home in Chicago thanks to our friends in Houston, who donated some of their miles to make the trip possible.  My dad had been on the road since the beginning of April and has proudly honored more than 100 soldiers at 34 professional sporting events since he began our “Battlefields to Ballfields” mission on April 2nd. .

Thanks to the Houston Astros, Warrior Wishes still came true at the game last night despite my dad’s absence.  The Astros helped us honor Sgt Edwin Henderson, Army 1SGT Ian Hill & the legacy of Lt. Col David Cabrera at the game.

Xander’s reaction to my dad walking in the front door after missing him for almost a month was priceless & brought us all to tears.  It was a special moment between this grandpa & grandson.

It was awesome having my dad back home, but it was short lived…  My Dad was on a mission, & as much as he wanted to stay and hang out with us, he had already promised to make Warrior Wishes come true in St. Louis & didn’t want to let the soldiers down.  By 10am this morning he was back on the bus heading to the gateway city to make Warrior Wishes come true at the Cardinals game.

Not having my dad around has helped to give me a much bigger appreciation for military families.

Our friend, Army Captain Pablo Enriquez, once told me that “a soldier does not fight because he hates what’s in front of him. He fights because he loves what he leaves behind.”

When soldiers deploy, they leave behind friends & family members who love and care for them dearly. Family and friends who stand behind & support them who are grateful for their loved ones service & sacrifices. But the soldiers are not the only one making sacrifices.

I think everyone is quick to show appreciation to the soldiers, but sometimes forget that even though the families left behind don’t wear a uniform, they are still making sacrifices every day!

My dad has been on the road for a month honoring heroes on our “Battlefields to the Ballfields”mission.   I can’t help but finding myself with this bigger appreciation for soldiers’ family members & loved ones.  Because we miss him a lot & it’s only been a month!

My dad is one of my heroes, he has dedicated his life to bring joy and happiness to the brave men & women of our country who give us our freedom.  The ones who are willing to sacrifice time away from their families so that we can spend time with ours.

I’ll never forget the life lesson I learned from James, a warrior we hosted in Kansas City.  James taught me a lesson on perspective, you see James had been severely burned all over his body defending our country.  But James is happy to be alive.  In fact he now calls himself “Extra Crispy” & says “he’s not quite original recipie anymore.”  He told me to always focus on the positive & to always keep things in perspective.

Having said that, I’m doing my best to keep this in perspective.  Even though We miss my dad’s presence, his help, and making fun of him for being technologically challenged, he has only been gone for a month and he is out there honoring the soldiers who spend 6 months to a year at a time away from their families & are willing to risk their lives to protect our freedoms, his sacrifice away from us seems like a small price to pay compared to theirs.

I can’t imagine hugging a loved one goodbye and watching them board a plane, knowing that they are going to war, and not knowing when & if they will be coming home.

It’s broke my heart watching my dad say goodbye to Xander.  It was amazing to see Xander’s reaction yesterday when my dad had the opportunity to come home and surprise him.  Even though he was only home for a few hours, it was time well spent.  A few hours is better than no hours.   I’ll admit, it was tough to say goodbye to my dad again.  I worry about him because he typically won’t spend money on hotels because he would rather use that money to honor heroes.  He ends up sleeping in bus stations and airports.  But to keep things in persepective, a bus station or airport would be a luxurious place to stay compared to some of the places our troops have to sleep.  I know where my dad will be, when he will be home, & barring another freak bus crash, I know my dad will be safe.  So I truly have nothing to complain about.

How can I be sad?   I’m proud of my dad for being so dedicated. he is out making a difference & showing his appreciation to the brave soldiers who have sacrificed so much more.  He is promoting positivity in the world.  To be honest,  I wish I could be out on the road with him so I too could personally thank each soldier for their service & sacrifices.

Before I sign off, I want to take a minute to thank and recognize all the unsung heroes, all of the soldiers families who provide the love & support to their loved ones, and are willing to sacrifice time with your loved ones so they can protect our country.  THANK YOU!

Behind every strong soldier, there is an even stronger family standing behind them, who supports & loves them with all their hearts.

I know my dad’s mission is nothing compared to a deployment, but while he is on the road honoring the real heroes of our country, we will be standing behind him, cheering him on and supporting him until he comes home.

We encourage you to follow our mission as we continue to host warriors & gold star families from the Battlefields to the Ballfields“.  Our mission began on April 2nd in Chicago and has made stops in Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York, Boston, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Tampa, Miami, Atlanta, Arlington & Houston.  Today he will be honoring heroes in St. Louis and he will be making stops in Kansas City, Denver, Arizona, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco & Minnesota before wrapping up the mission on Memorial Day in Chicago.  

Thank you for following our mission!