After making warrior wishes come true in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia…

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My dad was off to Boston for a couple very special days. Not only will he be hosting warriors at both Celtics and Bruins games, but he will also be reuniting with a number of the Boston Bombing survivors for dinner.  

Back in 2013, just 6 months after that horrific day in Boston, Operation Warrior Wishes teamed up with Robert Kraft & the New England Patriots to host many of the Boston Bombing survivors for a “Night of Inspiration” at the Patriots home opener.

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Each of the survivors was paired up with a wounded veteran with similar amputation,as their mentor for the weekend. In fact, a couple of the Warriors had actually visited them at the Boston hospital to begin  mentoring  the survivors immediately after the attack.  It was a humbling day full of inspiring people that we will never forget! 

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My dad arrived at Boston’s “South Station” after another overnight bus at around 11:00 AM. He was excited to be back in Boston & couldn’t wait to catch up with old friends & make new friends while making more wishes come true!  

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For the first time this week, my dad was actually going to be in the same city overnight, so I offered to get him a hotel.  I found one an express deal near the airport for $65 on Priceline.  My dad declined the offer & found a local gym to workout & clean up at before meeting everyone for dinner before the game.  He said after his workout he felt “refreshed” and said he would spend the night at the airport & save the money to make more wishes come true.  He’s basically been homeless since he left on Thursday… but he will do just about anything to make warrior wishes come true & would rather use the money for the mission & not himself.

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My dad set up dinner at Boston Beer Works with Army SGT David Bronson, Marine Noah Fallon & Boston Bombing survivor, Heather Abbot before the game.

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Boston Beer Works, just one block from the stadium,  is the perfect place to meet up for great food & drinks before & after any event at the TD Garden.  We want the thank Boston Beer works for their generosity & hospitality!   

My dad met up with the Warriors at Boston Beer Works around 3:30pm.  He enjoyed catching up with SGT Bronson, his wife & Heather, as well as meeting Noah for the first time.  

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Heather and David got along well, as they were talking prosthetics and found out that David plays golf with JP Norden, another Boston Bombing survivor. We also learned that Heather started up her own non profit organization.  The Heather Abbott Foundation was established to help provide customized prostheses to those who have suffered limb loss through traumatic circumstances.  They envision a world where individuals who have suffered limb loss through traumatic circumstances can live the lives they want.  You can learn more about her foundation at www.heatherabbottfoundation.org.  We are so proud of heather & how far she has come since we last saw her.  She is a true inspiration & it’s an honor to call her a friend.  

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After dinner, my dad said goodbye to Heather (as she was not attending game) and headed over to the Celtics front office. 

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David was nominated by his wife & We nominated David to receive the “Heroes Among Us” recognition at the Celtics game.  The Heroes Among Us program is one of the premier community outreach programs in professional sports. Established as an initiative of the Boston Celtics in 1997, Heroes Among Us honors individuals who have made an overwhelming impact on the lives of others.  The award is not only presented to Military veterans it is presented to an individual or group of individuals who, through their unique commitment and humanitarian spirit, have made exceptional and lasting contributions to the Boston community.

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SGT Bronson was chosen to receive the award & the Celtics went above and beyond to provide him & Noah an experience that they would never forget!  It started with a very extensive and informative tour of the Celtics corporate office.  During the tour, SGT Bronson learned that the front office upgraded his seats to the Front Row directly next to the Celtics bench!!!

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After the hour long tour, it was “Go Time.”  Everyone walked down the block to the TD Garden & entered in the “VIP entrance” to get staged where we needed to be for Sgt Bronson’s Ceremony. 

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Needless to say, everyone was excited to sit courtside & what was already an incredible night, got even better when the Jumbotron began telling Sgt Bronson’s story, the stadium became more and more electric and especially as he walked out to center court holding the “Heroes Among Us” Award.  He was given a standing ovation for his service & sacrifices.  It was an incredible moment!  

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After the recognition ceremony, the Wizards & Celtics tipped off. Sitting court side was truly amazing!  At one point, Jae Crowder of the Celtics decided to take a break in SGT Bronson’s seat.  It was pretty funny.  

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Boston led most of the game.  But the Wizards cut the Celtics lead down to 5 points in the 4th quarter.  In the end, their rally fell a little short & the Celtics got a big win over the Washington Wizards 110-102.

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The most emotional part of the Celtics experience didn’t happen until after the game.  A 6 year old boy approached SGT Bronson on the court.  He wanted to meet him & thank him for his service.  He learned that this 6 year old had just months to live & his incredible family took him to the game because they are trying to do as much as they can with him with the time they have left.  SGT Bronson gladly took time to meet with the boy and even gave him his brand new Celtics Cap to put a big smile on the boys face!  Seeing him smile was the highlight of our night.  We cannot even imagine what their family is going thru & are keeping them in our prayers.  We ask that you do too.

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Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Heather, Sam and the Boston Celtics for going above and beyond to provide a once in a lifetime experience at the Celtics game that the Warriors will never forget. We also want to thank James at Boston Beer Works for providing the delicious Pre Game dinner, New Era Cap for providing the Celtics caps and Heather Abbott for joining us for at dinner.  We Wish her continued success with her Foundation!

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we want to send a special thank you to Army Sgt David Bronson and Marine Noah Fallon for their service & sacrifices. It’s appreciated, has not gone unnoticed & will never be forgotten!  

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Don’t forget to say a prayer tonight for the  young 6 year old boy & his family!  

My dad will be back at the TD garden again tomorrow night making wishes come true at the Bruins game.  Stay tuned for more details!

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MEET THE WARRIORS

MARINE NOAH FALLON

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My name is Noah Fallon.  My military career began in August of 2003 where I entered the United States Marine Corps as an Infantry Rifleman.  After completing my infantry training I went to Chesapeake, Virginia for Marine Corps Security forces School and immediately following that went to Kingsbay, GA to assist in securing strategic assets within Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic.  Our mission was to prevent unauthorized access or loss of control of the facility and its assets.  After two years at kingsbay, GA I received orders to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in Camp Lejeune.  Shortly after arriving to the unit, our Battalion was deployed overseas assist in operations for Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.  From September 23rd 2006 to March 30th 2007 our platoon conducted over 200 combat patrols, 25 intelligence based raids, and 25 escort missions.   I arrived back in the United States April, 7th 2007 and was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps as a Corporal on May, 13th 2007.  I currently live in Londonderry, NH and work for the Department of Homeland Security as an Inspector for Federal Protective Service.

ARMY SGT DAVID BRONSON

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My name is SGT(RET) David Bronson. My military career began back in November 2002 when I entered the US Army as a 19 kilo armor crewman on an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank. Shortly after completing my basic training and advanced individual training I deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The unit I deployed with was 3/69 armor battalion 3rd infantry division, Ft Stewart Ga where I served as a loader and gunner.

My unit redeployed to Ft Stewart where we trained heavily to be ready for our next deployment in 2005 in support of OIF3. I deployed again to Iraq in January 2005 to the city of Samarra, 10 miles south of Tikrit and 60 miles north of Baghdad. On this deployment I served as a gunner as part of a PSD team(personal security detachment).

On Sept 9 2005 my patrol started out as pretty much any other but ended up changing my life. I was the gunner on the trail humvee doing a typical security patrol when our humvee was struck with an IED that consisted of two 155mm artillery shells. My humvee was hit on the drivers side and immediately tore the 300lb rear door clean off the hinges as well as tearing through the turret on the roof of my truck where I was standing.

The following 6 days I was in a coma but my medic told me what had happened. When my medic SPC Haigh reached my humvee from the lead gun truck they were unable to get to me because the rear seat was on fire and the passenger side door was damaged by shrapnel making it unable to be opened. After a few minutes they were able to extract me through the roof of the truck and get me to a nearby aid station we had placed throughout the city. At that point I had a chest tube inserted and coded while they were doing so. From there I was transported to balad medical hospital and packaged to make the flight to Germany. Once I reached stateside I was in a coma for another 3 days and later found out that I had coded two more times in Germany while in surgery and also went through 81 pints of blood in the 48 hours following the IED attack.

After roughly a month at Walter Reed in Washington DC I was presented with my Purple Heart award by president Bush after joking a few days prior that I only wanted the president to present it to me(half jokingly). The following year was extremely difficult while learning to walk again after losing my left leg and getting shot in my right knee, I also had extensive damage to my left arm, left lung and left ear resulting in plastic surgery to correct the disfigurement. I stayed at Walter reed for a year and a half until May of 2007 when I was medically retired and currently live in Auburn NH with my wife Cara and our 3 year old son and our 15 month old daughter.

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