For those of you who have been following us for a while, you know what “All32in17” stands for. For those of you who are just learning about our mission, let me explain.
My dad and I started our mission back in 2012. We were on a mission to be the first father and son in the world to ever attend “ALL 32” NFL stadiums “IN 17” weeks (the length of the NFL season). However, before we set out on our mission, we made the life changing decision to invite wounded veterans to join us at every game and Operation Warrior Wishes was born!
Over the past 7 years, our organization has hosted nearly 5,000 veterans and Gold Star Families at more than 1,000 events across the country! It has been an absolute honor to have had the opportunity to give back to those who selflessly serve our country! We are extremely thankful to everyone who has made our mission possible, because my dad and I never would have been able to make all of these wishes come true without all of your support! Together we make warrior wishes come true!
So here we are. 7 years ago to the day, my dad and I set out on our very first mission in New York City. I will never forget arriving in the “Big Apple” and staying up all night taking in the sights and sounds of NYC. We had the opportunity to host 2 Marines, Chris & Damien at the Giants game. From that very first game we knew our mission was going to be something special, but we never imagined it would have turned into what it is today.
This year, my dad had a nice easy opening day commute. Instead of having to travel across the country, he only had to take a quick train ride down town to kickoff our 8th annual All32in17 mission in Chicago.
My dad arrived at the stadium early to take in some of the opening day festivities before he met up with the Warriors before the game. This year we had the honor of hosting Navy veteran Susan Gaines and Marine Cpl Yuriy Zmysly at opening night of the 2019 NFL season!
Susan proudly served in the Navy for 9 years. She is a big Mitch Trubisky fan and was nominated by her husband for this experience.
Marine Cpl Yuriy Zmysly served on 2 tours of duty. After returning home from his second deployment (to Iraq), U.S. Marine Corporal Yuriy Zmysly suffered a stroke resulting from complications related to an emergency appendectomy. He fell into a coma for three months. Aimee (his fiancé) was told he would never awaken and that he would be in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.
Yuriy did awaken from the coma, however—the first sign of which was him flinching when the lights were turned on in his room—and began his long road to recovery. One year after the stroke, on December 20, 2006, Aimee and Yuriy were married in a courthouse ceremony.
Cpl Zmysly was introduced to us and nominated by our friends at the Independence Fund. In my dad’s words, Yuiry is a “Huge Bears Fan.”
My dad met up with the warriors at a pretty cool tailgate outside Soldier field. The tailgate was hosted by former Chicago Bear Charles “peanut” Tillman. Throughout the years we have had the opportunity to connect with Peanut multiple times and truly admire all the tings he did on the field, but admire what he did and continues to do off the field even more! Charles Tillman is a true humanitarian and makes the world a better place every day with his Cornerstone Foundation.
The mission of the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation is to provide opportunities and resources to children and their families who are in need. Since 2005, Charles Tillman’s charitable efforts have impacted the lives of thousands of critically and chronically ill children and their families. We highly recommend you check it out! www.CharlesTillman.org
Peanut always takes time to show those who have served and sacrificed his appreciation for their service. We cannot thank him enough for inviting us to host the warriors at his tailgate.
Unfortunately the Bears fell to the Packers in a lackluster football game. But despite the loss, the warriors had an unforgettable experience!
Operation Warrior Wishes will be hosting warriors at every Bears home game this year thanks to our friends at Sebern Custom Homes and Grandview Capital. We are extremely thankful for their support!
Most importantly we want to thank Susan & Yuiry for your selfless service and sacrifices! It was an honor to host you!
After the game my dad made his way back home to for a quick night’s sleep before jumping right back on the train to get back to the city. Chicago Bears legend, and follower of our mission, Brian Urlacher had offered to sign some 8×10’s for us while he was in town. We will be giving one of the signed pictures to each of the veterans we host at the Bears games all season long! Yuiry couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet him, so he joined my dad at the hotel and got to hang out with the Chicago Bears Hall of Fame Linebacker too! As a thank you we gave Brian one of our new Warrior Wishes caps. We cannot thank him enough for his support and look forward to having him join us at next years golf scramble!
My dad will be back in action this weekend. He will be flying out to Boston Saturday afternoon and will be making Warrior Wishes come true at the New England Patriots home opener on Sunday! Stay tuned for more details!