Over the past 10 days, my dad has made warrior wishes come true at 12 Major League Baseball games in 10 different cities. He kicked off this leg of our Battlefields to Ballfields mission in Cincinnati, then headed north with our newest board member Bill to Detroit. From there he took cheap busses all across the east coast making stops in Pittsburgh, New York (Yankees), Boston, New York (Mets) Washington DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia & Cleveland.
Needless to say, my dad was happy to be home in Chicago to complete this leg of our Battlefields to Ballfields Tour at Wrigley Field to make Warrior Wishes come true for the 13th game in 11 days!
This was our 3rd Warrior Wish in which we partnered up with our “PALS”(Patient Airlift Services) to fly 4 warriors from New York to Chicago for their first game ever at the world famous Wrigley Field, an experience that is probably on every sports fan’s bucket list.
Pilot Joe Howley of PALS flew Marine James Litwinowicz and Army SGT Donald Schultze, SGT Johnny DeMarco and SGT Greg Hacke into Chicago for an overnight stay and the opportunity to watch the best team in baseball, the Chicago Cubs.
We couldn’t let the Warriors come to Chicago without having a slice of authentic Chicago style deep dish pizza, so my dad set up reservations for them at the Giordanos near Midway airport, and then met everyone for breakfast the next morning at the Holiday Inn where they stayed.
It was a great mix of warriors as each of the 4 recipients was a nominated by a different military organization that Operation Warrior Wishes has worked with in the past.
After breakfast, Jim Zangrilli who is also a big military supporter in Chicago area, drove everyone down to “The Friendly Confines” AKA Wrigley Field. The warriors had the opportunity of a lifetime, thanks to “PALS,” to sit In the dugout, watch batting practice on the field, meet some of the players and get this awesome picture around the Cubs on-deck circle.
The Cubs have not won a World Series in over 100 years. As a Chicagoan & a life long Cubs fan, it’s been brutal. But this year there is a buzz around the Cubs like never before. Their offense is scoring runs & their pitchers have shut down opposing hitters all season long. Dexter Fowler & Anthony Rizzo gave the Warriors plenty to cheer about and didn’t let the Warriors down. Both players homered in the game & the “North siders” beat the D-Backs 5-3.
The warriors snapped a picture in front of the iconic Wrigley Field Marquis before grabbing a quick bite to eat and then headed back to the airport for their PALS flight home.
A big THANK YOU goes out to pilot Joe Howley for flying the guys in, as well as Eileen and Karen at PALS for partnering up with us to make these warrior wishes come true. We also want to thank Jim Zangrilli for the ground transportation to and from the game, New Era Cap for providing Cubs Caps to the Warriors & thanks to the Chicago Cubs organization for the incredible experience. The Cubs have always been very big supporters of our military, and you may remember our first year when they set up a “surprise” in the Cubs locker room for our 3 Warrior Wishes nominations, providing them all with personalized jerseys.
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!
But most importantly , THANK YOU to our warriors- James, Donald , Johnny and Greg for their service & Sacrifices.
My dad will be taking the next few weeks off to catch up on lost sleep, spend time with family and regroup before heading out June 23rd for the south east leg of our Battlefields to Ballfields mission. Stay tuned for details!