ESPYS 2015

ESPYS 2015

Each year elite Athletes from across the country & Hollywood superstars collide for an epic night known as “The Espys.”  ESPY is short for “Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly.”  The awards are given out each year to recognize individual and team athletic achievement and other sports-related performance during the year.

Each of the Espy nominees share similar characteristics. They are leaders & team players, they stay disciplined, act courageously, believe in themselves, persevere through adversity and most of all, they never ever give up.

These characteristics can also be used to describe Navy Corpsman, Doc Jacobs & Army Master SGT Cedric King.  These 2 brave warriors have shown strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril, and the willingness to stand up and fight no matter what the cost.

Thanks to Chris Berman and all of our friends at ESPN, Jacobs & King have the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the most inspiring athletes in the world & will get to enjoy a “Red Carpet” experience of a lifetime!

We chose Doc & Cedric to be guests because they have inspired us with their stories & here they are….

Navy Corpsman Daniel “Doc” Jacobs

 Growing up Daniel “Doc” Jacobs dreamed of joining the military to fight for freedom like his ancestors had and of playing Baseball in the big leagues.  Jacobs turned his dream of joining the military into a reality after high school.  He proudly followed in his families footsteps & served for more than 8 years in the Navy.

In 2006, while serving in Iraq, his dream of becoming a professional baseball player all but ended when “Doc” was severely injured After an  improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonated.  Jacobs lost his left leg (below the knee), two toes from his right foot, and three partial fingers from his left hand & has endured more than 50 surgeries!

 That’s not the end of Doc’s story.  As I said before, Doc never gives up.  In the face of adversity he stood up & fought.  He believed in himself & despite his injuries,he made history by becoming the first amputee Corpsman and Naval Personnel to EVER be assigned to an infantry unit.

Doc also never let go of his dream of playing in the majors Hall of Famer Tommy Lasorda met Doc before a dodgers game and encouraged him to try out for the LA Dodgers!  So he did.

 Jacobs is realistic about making the team.  He knows it will not be easy to make the cut, But that’s not going to stop him.  Doc is making a statement. He says “It’s all about the experience, and letting America and these guys know that not all disabled veterans are going to be a statistic in the news, I’m here to combat the suicide rate, homicide rate, divorce rate statistics. I just want to get out there and prove to America there are awesome disabled veterans out there and we are making a stand against that.”  he is not giving up his hopes for making it to be a Professional Athlete. As a potential professional athlete Doc hopes he can utilize such a platform in order to reach out and inspire more veterans and persons with disabilities.

See Doc’s ESPN Video here!

If that’s not inspiring enough, Doc is a full time student with a 3.24 GPA, a full time and dedicated athlete for his pursuit of the Majors, he has completed 15 marathons, he is an author of his soon to be published book, co-host on his talk show, avid bass fisherman, drummer last and certainly not least a very dear position held close to his heart, a peer mentor for his fellow veterans and persons with disabilities alike. He frequents his fellow wounded warriors in Bethesda, Walter Reed, Naval Medical Center, San Diego and Landstuhl Germany to share his story and any encouraging words of experience or wisdom to wounded warriors as they began their early stages of recovery. Doc has recently begun guest speaking at Naval and Marine Corps Commands in hopes of utilizing his constant uphill battles to inspire and bring motivation to those who may follow in his foot steps be it physical, mental or spiritual hardships.

Army Master SGT Cedric King

 On July 25th 2012 Cedric was serving in Afghanistan.  At the time he was a platoon Sargent & As usual, he received the coordinates of where to go, just like every day, setting out 10-15 minutes later and getting fired upon, which was nothing new.  The only thing different on that particular day was that this was a new sector.

Cedric’s team happened to be covering for another platoon.  They were bringing a group of guys to cover when Cedric’s right foot stepped on an IED.

He didn’t know what had happened.  In fact, he thought at first that he had just been blown back by the blast.  The men around him were hurt too, but Cedric received the majority of the injuries, although at the time, he didn’t realize it.

 He said, “I was really upset that I didn’t get a chance to finish getting the guys who were shooting at us,” but he said that wore off soon and started gasping for air.  He looked at his body and quickly realized that it was mangled.  Soon, the helicopter arrived to take Cedric and the other injured men to the closest base, Kandahar.  Cedric said that once at the army base, he had no recollection of anything until he woke up a week later on August 1 at Walter Reed.

Cedric lost both of his legs above the knee in the blast.  He credits his Family and faith for motivating him to always push his limits and never give up. “These two elements helped me when I didn’t want to get up.  Faith helps me believe in a brighter future.  Faith keeps me going—this didn’t happen for nothing.  I believe in a higher power who loves me enough to say, I’m not doing this to hurt you, I’m doing this to help you.’”

 His family, which includes his wife and children, is there for him constantly.  Cedric says, “There are people around me who love me, not because I had legs, not because I was strong, not because I could pick up my kids.  They love me for the part of me that you can’t see.  They love me for what’s on the inside.  That’s the part of you they can’t smell, they can’t see.”

Cedric wants to live life the way that He did before or better, as if nothing  ever happened. “I’ve got every excuse to say ‘Its too much,’ but I won’t. To me, it’s not awe-inspiring like it is to everyone else.  To me, it’s a frame of mind that separates me between now and who I used to be.  The injury is big in other people’s eyes.  To me, it’s not that big of a deal (any more). It’s a shift in consciousness.  The reason why this happened was to make me better…to make me stronger…to expose my best part in me.  By not complaining, it makes it better.”

If that doesn’t inspire you, this will.  MSgt Cedric King lets nothing stand in his way!  On November 2nd, 2014, Cedric set his sights on crossing the finish line at the New York City Marathon.  During the grueling 26 mile trek, one of Cedric’s prosthetic legs broke.  He lost invaluable time as he waited to get it fixed.

 King knelt down and prayed.  He put one foot in front of the other & never looked back.  After all the crowds had gone home & clean up crews were sweeping the streets, Cedric King crossed the finish line 10 hours after starting the race.  

So what if he was one of the last people to cross the finish line?  He did it, he displayed strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril, and the willingness to stand up and fight no matter what the cost.

Master Sgt Cedric King recently retired from the army and moved out of Walter Reed back to North Carolina with his family.  He is a public speaker, a mentor and a true inspiration.

When We called to invite Cedric as our guest, he said “I feel like I just won an Espy.”  We can’t wait to see his reaction to walking down the red carpet.

You will not see or hear about these 2 warriors watching the Espy’s tonight, so we are encouraging everyone to share their courageous & inspiring stories.  On behalf of myself, my dad & Operation Warrior Wishes, it’s a true honor to host these brave warriors on the Red Carpet at the Espys!

And Jimmy V, I know we will Laugh, Think & Cry.  It’s going to be one heck of a day & very special.

 Thanks to Chris Berman & our Friends at ESPN, Marine Cpl. Nick Kimmel was treated to the Espys pre-party & Navy Corpsman “Doc” Jacobs & Army Master SGT Cedric King had an experience of a lifetime walking down the Red Carpet at the 2015 ESPYs

Operation Warrior Wishes can’t thank ESPN enough for giving us the opportunity to make #WarriorWishes come true at the ESPYs for the 3rd straight year.

We would also like to thank Wolfgang Puck’s LA Live restaurant for treating everyone to dinner before we hit the red carpet.  Lastly, we are thankful to all of the athletes & celebrities who stopped by & helped make the experience special including Diane Sawyer, Alex Rodriguez, JJ Watt, Mo’Ne Davis, Odell Beckham Jr, players from the USA Womens Soccer team, players from the Duke National Championship team, players from the Ohio State National Championship team, Antonio Brown, Chris Long and many more.

 You can see all of the photos from the Red Carpet here.  

Operation Warrior Wishes is a Father & Son’s Mission to Honor Heroes & Keep Legacies Alive By Providing Once In A Lifetime Experiences To Warriors From The Battlefields To The Ballfields. In less than 3 years, We have proudly honored more than 1000 warriors at more than 300 events nationwide.  We will be “Kicking Off” our 4th annual “All32in17” mission where we will honor warriors at all 32 NFL stadiums in 1 season!  You can nominate your hero for an upcoming game, donate or sponsor to help support our mission and get involved at www.warriorwishes.org.

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!