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Game 7 – Warrior Wishes Come True in Green Bay!

Immediately following the 6th game of our 2015 Mission in Minnesota, my dad & I hopped in the car & drove to Green Bay to host a hero on a tour of Lambeau field in Green Bay.

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It was a race against time as the last tour started at 7pm & we had a 280 mile drive ahead of us.  Thanks to our smart GPS we were able to avoid post game traffic in Minnesota & pulled into Green Bay at around 6:45pm in time to meet up with Army SGT Mike Engel, his wife & grandfather (Vietnam veteran) right in front of the new 50 foot Lombardi trophy inside the stadium.

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The champions tour kicked off right at 7pm in the Lambeau Field Atrium.  The atrium is one of the coolest characteristics of the stadium.  It’s a massive indoor venue attached to the stadium & home to a packer themed restaurant, the Packers Hall of Fame & the biggest souvenir shop in the NFL, they have everything you can imagine with a packers logo on it for sale there!

We were excited to tour the world famous Lambeau field.  This was Sgt Engel’s first time ever at the stadium.  Throughout the tour we got to go up to the suites, take pictures from the roof of the stadium, visit the champions club, pass by the Locker Room & Run out of the Packers tunnel & on to the field!  It was very informative & fun!

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We all had had a great time, said our goodbyes & took a seat on the steps of the stadium to watch the “Blood Moon” eclipse before finding a place to eat & calling it a night in the “Hyundai Elantra Inn” for our 2nd straight night, lol.  My dad got revenge on me and took this rare picture of me sleeping to pay me back for all the ones I take of his sleeping all over random places….

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Monday morning we woke up early and met up with our good friends, the Tompa’s, at Crystal Coffee for breakfast.  The Tompa’s have been helping us make Warrior Wishes come true since 2013 & for that we are thankful!

Here are some of our favorite memories making warrior wishes come true in Green Bay!

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We made our way back to the stadium around 1pm and played catch outside the stadium before tailgating with the Tompa’s & meeting up with the warriors.

We were honored to be hosting Army Sgt Charles Fischbach, Army Sgt Jeff Stoleson, Marine David Kedziora & the gold star parents of Army Sgt Nickolas Mueller at the Packers game. (see their bios below)

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Thankfully the rain held off to give us time to tailgate.  Before making our way inside the stadium to take advantage of the VIP field passes the packers provided to the Warriors, we gathered everyone at the tailgate & had an emotional presentation to recognize the Warriors & presented the Muellers with a custom piece of framed artwork from Honor America’s Valor in honor of their sons service & ultimate sacrifice. May we never forget those who gave some & especially those who gave all.

We escorted the Warriors inside the stadium & helped them get down on the field.  We watched them take full advantage of the passes from the stands.  They got pictures with the Cheerleaders, Mason Crosby & thanks to our friends at ESPN, they even got a picture on the Monday night countdown set with Suzy Kolber, Steve Young, Trent Dilfer & Ray Lewis!

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It rained on and off throughout the game, but a little rain didn’t stop us from having a great time or the Packers from beating up on the Chiefs as Aaron Rogers threw 5 TD’s and helped his team win 38-28.

It was a great weekend filled with unforgettable memories with some of our nation’s bravest heroes!

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We would like to thank The Green Bay Packers for their continued support over the past 3 seasons & for providing VIP field passes to help make these warrior wishes come true!  We would also like to thank The Tompa’s & their tailgate crew for their hospitality, New Era Caps for providing Packers Caps for the Warriors, Honor Americas Valor for providing the framed artwork for the Mueller family & most of all we would like to thank the Warriors & their families for their service & sacrifices!

As a Bears fan this is not easy to say, but I’m going to say it anyways, Green Bay is one of the best football towns in the NFL!  From the stadium, to the fans, to the players on the field, we truly enjoy hosting heroes at Lambeau & making Warrior Wishes come true in Green Bay!  We wish you nothing but the best & continued success.  Thanks for the memories! #GoPackGo

We’re headed back to Chicago!

My dad will be back in action Thursday in Pittsburgh for the 8th game of our 2015 mission to honor warriors at all 32 NFL stadiums for our 4th year in a row!

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

MEET THE WARRIORS 

Army SGT Jeff Stoleson

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SGT Stoleson proudly served our country in the Army for 28 years!  He doesn’t consider himself a hero.  SGT Stoleson says his heroes didn’t make it home.

On sept 26 2005 gun truck C41 was hit by an EFPIED at bridge 6 just north of the border in Iraq . Sgt Andrew Peter Wallace and Micheal Jacob Wendling were Mortally wounded .

“I held Sgt Wallace and tried my best to do everything I could to keep him with us but I was unable to and he passed in my arms. one of his last wishes was to tell his wife how much he loved her.  He also told me to look after his other troops and I promised him I would.” said Stoleson.

“I went to Basra hospital to look after Spc Roskoof and Spc Wendling, Roskoof had minor wounds but Wendling was in tough shape.  I was called to the operating room & was told he wasn’t going to make it.  I stayed until the end, because no solider was going out alone on my watch. They tried to get me to leave but it wasn’t happening I lost Mike at 11:29am alone by myself in my arms again”

SGT Stoleson’s son was born with a heart problem from being  exposed to the Burn Pits in Iraq and didn’t know if he would make it. But he did & believes that the men he lost were the angels watching over him.

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“My Heroes are those guys I’m just the story teller of their bravery and sacrifice.”

It was an honor to host SGT Stoleson at his first ever Packers game to thank him for his 28 years of service and sacrifices.

Army SGT Charles Fischbach

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Charles Fischbach was medically released from the Army after 14 years of service as a reservist in which he volunteered to be on active duty for 9 of those years. He went on his first deployment over seas as a SPC and the youngest person in his unit. After what was supposed to be a six month tour to Turkey he ended up spending 18 months in Bahgram, Afghanistan.

Upon his return home  he got married and in three years his unit was asked to serve overseas again. A week after his first daughter was born he deployed to Iraq. After spending a year there he returned home and was asked to stay on orders to train fellow service members in what he learned overseas. During his second tour in Iraq, Charles started struggling with PTSD, he lost a tendon in his wrist, and damaged both of his knees to a point where he had to wear braces to get around. Even with these issues the Army allowed him to stay on orders and lead fellow soldiers being sent to help train fellow service members in places like Texas, Kentucky and Alabama including other places.  Charles is now 100% disabled by the VA and according to the state. He has a service dog to help calm him when his PTSD flares up.

SGT Fischbach was nominated by his wife.  She told us how he spends his sundays watching football and never misses a Packer game.  It was an honor to host him & show him our appreciation for his service & sacrifices!

Army SGT Nickolas Mueller

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Sgt Nickolas Mueller, 160th, Special Operations, (Airborne) Night Stalkers, Hunter Army Airfield, Savannah, GA.

Nick was a mission qualified MH-47G Crew Chief on a Chinook Helicopter flying over 412 combat flight hours. Nick was the assistant training NCO. “For he loved to fight, fought to win, and would rather die than quit” NSDQ

On October 26th, 2009,Nick did pay the ultimate sacrifice in a helicopter crash due to hostile fire while on active duty in the Badghis Province of Northwestern Afghanistan.

Nick’s goal in the army was to be a pilot. As a young child in grade school, Nick talked about being a pilot in the army. Nick was living towards that dream. He loved the military. He was supporting our country and loving it. Nick was making a difference. He was strong, intelligent, and achieved everything he went after. He always carried a big smile and cared for people.

SGT Mueller was loved by many and liked by all. He had many friends, wrestled, played basketball and football, participated in track, played the Bari Sax in pep and jazz band, and was in choir and drama. Nick was elected 2001 homecoming king.

Nick was starting a new life with the love of his life. He takes with him her HEART. Other loves were his motorcycle and a day at the Hilton Head Beach with his “Sweets”. Nick made life worth living and he loved life to the fullest.

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We would like to thank Honor America’s Valor & the Tompa tailgate for helping us honor Nick’s Legacy.  It was an honor to have his parents with us & keep his legacy alive!

Army SGT Mike Engel

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SGT Engel served in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has PTSD & is 100% disabled by the VA. Mike was nominated by his wife.  She told us how he has always talked about attending a game but was not sure how he would handle it with the big crowd.  So we invited SGT Engel to be our guest on the Lambeau field tour so he wouldn’t have to worry that much about the big crowds.

We were honored to meet him and show him our appreciation for his service & Sacrifices.

Follow our mission at www.WarriorWishes.org

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Follow Us On Twitter @WarriorWishes

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Game 6 – Warrior Wishes Come True In Minnesota

After hosting heroes at 5 NFL games in 9 days, my dad had a few days off to regroup & plan for making more warrior wishes come true on our 2015 “All32in17” mission.

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For the 2nd straight week I had the opportunity to go with my dad to help host the warriors.  At 9:16pm Saturday night, we hit the road & drove 5 1/2 hours to Minneapolis to make warrior wishes come true in Minnesota for Navy Seabee E4 Brandon Garske, Sgt Renald (Ronnie) Thompson Jr. & Army SSG Benjamin Bachman.

Here are some of the memories we have made in Minnesota over the past 3 years.

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We drove by the New stadium as soon as we rolled into town at around 3am.  It looks pretty awesome & we cannot wait to honor warriors there next year.  By 4 am we found ourselves a Walmart parking lot & got 2 hours of sleep in the “Elantra” hotel.

We met up with the Warriors first thing in the morning at lot 37 of TCF Stadium to tailgate with the VWO, Vikings ultimate fans!  As most of you know, my dad and I have been to all 32 NFL stadiums, we have to say the Vikings have some of the craziest ultimate fans in the NFL!!!  It was an honor to have the opportunity to be a part of their tailgate and give the warriors an ultimate tailgate experience.

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This was Ben & Ronnie’s first Vikings game ever & Brandon was a huge fan, so they were eager to get into the stadium & watch some of the pregame warm ups. We had perfect weather for the game, not too hot, not too cold.  While walking over to the stadium we got lucky and had an opportunity to snap a picture with some of the Vikings Cheerleaders.

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The Warriors had great seats right by the Players tunnel.  Vikings played an outstanding game & treated everyone to a win.  It was an awesome way to cap off an amazing day.

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We would like to thank the VWO Vikings Ultimate fans for hosting us at your tailgate, New Era caps for providing Vikings Caps for the Warriors & Westin Minneapolis for providing acommodations for the Warriors!

Immediately following the game, my dad and I jumped in the car & made our way to Green Bay to host a warrior on a Lambeau field Champion tour & make Warrior Wishes come true at the 7th game of our 32 game mission!

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MEET THE WARRIORS 

SGT Ronnie Thompson 

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 Army SSG Benjamin Bachman

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Ben joined the Active duty Army right out of high school in 2000, he comes from an Army background, his dad was in the Army for 20 years as ABN, INF, Ranger, so that’s all he really knew. He was stationed at FT Bragg, NC. Schofield Barracks, HI. Ft Carson, CO. and Ft Richardson, AK.

Ben served our country for 12 years & had deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq. He was medically retired for PTSD and a TBI, but Ben does not let that get him down & does everything he can to be the best he can be.Ben & his wife, Terrena, have two kids a daughter who is 5 years old and a son who is 3 years old. In his spare time, Ben likes to spend time with his family from hiking outdoors, going to the zoo to & playing Disney Infinity on the Xbox 360 with the kids.

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Ben wants to be an inspiration & show his kids through his actions, that no matter what happens to you in life you have to always try your best,  pick yourself back up when you get knocked down and to always keep on going through life with your head held high.
SSG Bachman, you are an inspiration! We were honored to host you & hope you had a great time at the Vikings game today!  Thank you for your service!

Navy Seabee E4 Brandon Garske

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Brandon served as a heavy equipment operator for the Navy Seabees & was attached to the Marines as a sniper.

To this day Brandon still deals with PTSD & a TBI. He also suffered nerve damage while serving making him 100% disabled.  Brandon’s wife nominated Brandon she said he is a great husband, a wonderful father & a “HUGE” Vikings fan!

It’s been an honor hosting Brandon & making this Warrior Wish come true.  We can’t thank him enough for his service & sacrifices.

Follow our mission at www.warriorwishes.org

Twitter –  @WarriorWishes

Facebook “Operation Warrior Wishes”

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

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Game 5 – Making Warrior Wishes Come True In Indy!

After the Bears helped us make Warrior Wishes come true in Chicago & we scrambled to get my dad a new phone, he took a train back to the city to catch an overnight bus to Indianapolis to Make Warrior Wishes come true at our 5th game in 9 days!

Over the last 3 years, we have made some unforgettable memories making Warrior Wishes come true in Indianapolis.

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My dad arrived in Indy around 2:30am and got some sleep in the bus station before planning the day & hanging out with the ESPN crew at the Starbucks by the stadium.  Today we are honoring the Legacy of Marine Sgt Bradley Atwell & hosting surviving family members at the Colts game in his honor.

MARINE SGT BRADLEY ATWELL

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SGT Atwell was born in Kokomo, Indiana on February 20, 1985.  He graduated from Taylor High School in 2003 & went on to attend various colleges, most recently, while in Afghanistan, attending Thomas Edison State College, where he was only a few credits shy of his associates degree. While there, he was also logging hours so that he would be able to obtain his journeyman’s license. After a short stay in the Air Force he joined the United States Marine Corps where he worked as an aviation electrician and currently held the rank of a sergeant.

Brad had a passion for firearms and enjoyed off-roading in his truck. He was also a brown belt in MCMAP and enjoyed playing and watching baseball. He was a very loving husband, son, and brother, but most importantly an extremely courageous Marine.

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SGT Atwell made the ultimate sacrifice on September 15th, 2011, when around 15 insurgents dressed in U.S. Army uniforms infiltrated Camp Bastion with automatic rifles, rocket propelled grenade launchers and suicide vests.  SSG Jimbo Montemayor, who served for a time as Atwell’s superior, said the incident which made him a hero was his actions on the day he was killed in Afghanistan.

“Sgt. Atwell, at the sound of enemy fire, ran and beat down doors screaming at the top of his lungs, ‘Grab your gear, Marines, and let’s go,’” Montemayor said. “He ran towards enemy fire to engage the enemy, as any well-trained sergeant should.

“I’ve seen that intensity numerous times when he was in training,” he continued. “I can almost guarantee that he pursued the enemy without any fear of losing his life. These are the actions of a true hero.” said Montemayor.

“Bradley epitomized the Marine Corps ethos of the honor, courage and commitment,” wrote Lt. Col. P.D. Waugh in a letter to the family, which was read at his service. “He lived it everyday in the way he looked out for his Marines. You can be sure the Marines who worked and fought beside him will never forget the dedication and sacrifice that he made.”

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Photo by Sgt. Keonaona Paulo U.S. Marines honor Sgt. Bradley W. Atwell at a memorial service on Camp Bastion, Helmand province, Afghanistan Sept. 20, 2012. Atwell was an aircraft electrical/instrument and flight control technician with Marine Aviation Logistics Squadron 16, Marine Aircraft Group 16, 3D Marine Aircraft Wing (Forward), was killed in action while repealing an enemy attack on Camp Bastion Sept. 14, 2012.

Sgt. Brad Atwell is survived by his wife, Danielle Atwell of Yuma, Arizona; mother, Cheryl (Turnpaugh) Atwell, father and step-mother, Victor and Kimberlee Atwell; mother and father-in-law, Jeanette and Christopher Cross; brother, Dustin Atwell; two sisters; Erin and Lauren Atwell; and grandmother, Shirley (Turnpaugh) Oody, all of Kokomo, Indiana.

It was an honor to host surviving family members at the Colts game in SGT Atwell’s honor.  We would like to thank Harry & Izzy’s for hosting everyone for Dinner before the game and New Era for providing Colts caps for everyone.

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This was the 5th game of our 32 game mission to honor military warriors at all 32 NFL stadiums in 1 season for our 4th season in a row.  My dad will be back on the bus after the game and back in Chicago first thing in the morning.  He will have a few days off before we drive up to Minnesota this Sunday and then make our way over to Green Bay for the Monday night game.

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Follow our mission at www.warriorwishes.org

Twitter –  @WarriorWishes

Facebook “Operation Warrior Wishes”

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

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Game 4 – Making Warrior Wishes Come True in Chicago

Here are some of our favorite memories from making Warrior Wishes come true at the or should I say “Da” Bears games.

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This year we had an opportunity to buy season tickets for our hometown Chicago Bears & since we have a lot of Bears Nominations it made sense to buy them.

So after having made Warrior Wishes come true in Oakland, San Fran & KC, my dad is back home for the weekend hosting Air Force Warrior Jeffery Walker at the Bears game.

AIR FORCE WARRIOR JEFFREY WALKER

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I was personally excited about this game, because I get to team up with my dad for the first time in what seems like forever & help honor this brave warrior.

Jeff is an Air Force veteran who proudly served our country for 14 years!  Most Americans will never serve on a tour of duty, Jeff has served on 7!!!  He served 1 tour in Korea, 1 tour in Kuwait, 1 to Qatar, 2 in Iraq and 2 In Afghanistan.  Jeff had to be medically retired due to a sustained injury in combat.

Jeff was nominated by his wife Lisa. Lisa also proudly served our country in the Marines.  She told us how Jeff never misses a Bears game.  Every Sunday during football season, he can be found in front of the TV cheering on his beloved Bears.  Lisa mentioned that Jeff had never been to a game in person & an experience at soldier field would be a dream come true!

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So we surprised Jeff at dinner last week thanks to Flat River Grill in Michigan & made his warriors wish come true today at his first ever Bears game!

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The Bears went above & beyond by providing field passes for Jeff, Lisa & Lisa’s service dog, Dante.  Jeff was in heaven, it was a “dream come true” to walk out onto the field & watch the players warm up from the sidelines!  Plus, it was alumni day, so a lot of former bears players were roaming the sidelines.

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Unfortunately, Jeff’s favorite player, Brian Urlacher was not in attendance.  But he was able to meet Johnny Knox, Chris Draft, Adrian Peterson, and even the team owner, George McCaskey!

The day was perfect, until the Bears kicked off to start the game…. The cardinals ran the opening kickoff back for a TD and it was only the beginning.  The Bears lost 48-23!  There was one bright spot during the game, Jeff made it up on the jumbotron flexing his muscles on the “Flex Cam”.

It was another incredible day filled with memories with a few American heroes.  We are thankful for Flat River Grill for helping us pull off the surprise, the Chicago Bears for providing field passes, Da Bus & Da Coach for inviting us to tailgate, New Era for providing Bears Caps & most importantly, thanks to Lisa & Jeff for your service & giving us the opportunity to make your warrior wish come true!

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One thing I failed to mention, is that my dad shattered his phone at the game.  So immediately after the game ended, we rushed home to get an old phone and made our way over to AT&it just minutes before they closed.  Otherwise he would not have had a phone to coordinate tomorrow’s Colts game!

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We have officially accomplished missions at 4 games in 7 days!  28 more to go.  Thank you for your support!!!!

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

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Game 3 – Making Warrior Wishes Come True In KC

We have shared some incredible memories over the past 3 years in Kansas City.

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After an incredible 3 days filled with Warrior Wishes coming true in California, my dad flew home to Chicago only to hop on a bus and head out on an overnight bus to Kansas City.  He arrived in KC Thursday morning and meet up with Marine Sgt Dustin Johns & Army Sgt Nicholas Amegia (see bio’s below) to make their Warrior Wishes Come True at the Kansas City Chiefs game.

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Before the game, my dad met up with the Sgt Johns & Sgt Ambegia along with a few warriors who were our past guests for lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings.  It’s always nice to catch up with old friends and meet new ones at each game.  After lunch everyone headed over to the stadium to tailgate before kicking off game 3 of our “All32in17” mission in Kansas City.

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Nick & Dustin celebrated as the Chiefs went up on the Broncos with less than 3 minutes left in the game.  Their celebration was cut short as Peyton Manning engineered a drive and marched his Broncos down the field to tie the game with 40 seconds on the clock.  It looked as if the game would go into overtime, but then the unthinkable happened….

Chiefs Running Back Jamaal Charles fumbled the ball!  The Broncos picked up the loose ball and ran it into the end zone to pull off one of the most amazing wins we had ever seen.  The warriors along with everyone in Aarowhead stadium stood in shock.

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Despite the last minute loss, the warriors still had a great time at the game.  And for Sgt Ambegia & his son, the day was not over yet…

After the game, Sgt Ambegia and his son went with my dad to try and meet some of their favorite players.  Before the game had started Nick had purchased a Travis Kelce Jersey & hoped to get it signed. We had a feeling that meeting the players may be a tall task considering the way they lost, but much like the warriors, my dad and I never give up.

Every player on the team got in their car and headed home without stopping to sign autographs but one.  The ONLY one to stop & sign was the one and only Travis Kelce!  It was an amazing way to end an amazing day!

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Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Buffalo Wild Wings in Independence for hosting lunch, New Era Caps for providing Chiefs Caps to each of the warriors & Marty, Randy, Deb & Andy among others for helping us make Warrior Wishes Come True in Kansas City, Home of the CHIEFS!

Marine Sgt Dustin Johns

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Dustin Joined the USMC in August of 2005.  He spent 7 years in the Marines with deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan & the Pacific.

in 2011, Dustin deployed to Afghanistan.  He was serving as an EOD (Explosives Ordnance Disposal) Technician.  On November 12th, 2011 Dustin was clearing an area of explosive hazards in the Sangin Valley, Afghanistan when he stepped on an IED (Improvised Explosive Device).  The blast resulted in the traumatic amputation of both of Dustin’s legs, 2 fingers on his right hand & he also suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury in the attack.

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Doctors had to perform life saving surgeries at camp leatherneck.  SGT Johns was eventually transported to Landstuhl, Germany before returning stateside to Walter Reed in Bethesda MD.

Dustin’s life changed forever in an instant, but he never gave up.  After just 7 weeks of intensive therapies after losing both legs, he was literally back on his feet and learning to walk with his new prosthetic legs!  To this day, Dustin faces challenges every day, but this warrior is always up for the challenge because nothing is impossible & he never gives up!

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SGT Johns was medically retired from the Marines on December 30th, 2012.  He currently lives in Grain Valley Missouri with his wife, Melissa.  Dustin & Melissa recently welcomed a new addition to their family with the birth of their daughter Piper, who was born in February.  Dustin is currently going to school full time and plans to pursue a masters degree in orthotics & prosthetics.

Sgt Johns was nominated by Andy, our guest from 2013.  We are thankful for the nomination and opportunity to host Dustin & his wife at tonights game to thank them for all of their service and sacrifices.

SGT Nicholas “Nick” Ambegia

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Nicholas Adam Ambegia was born January 26, 1985, in El Cajon, California. The middle child of three other siblings two brothers and one sister. During his life, he moved around a lot until he finally found a place he could find a home of his own.

He had been going through high school, in Warren, Ohio on the date of 9/11/01. Due to the tragedy that had happened, is not only felt like his calling but his mission. He later graduated ahead of his class to join the US army.

Nicholas joined the army at age 17 on October 30, 2003 and later turned 18 during his basic at Fort Leonard Wood. His initial job, when he went in, was a 14t (patriot missile operator). After basic, he was stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas to complete his AIT and later, being stationed on the same post. During his time as a patriot missile operator, he received many awards for good conduct and going above and beyond what was expected of him.

While Nicholas was a 14T, he did one non combat deployment to Korea and was stationed at Suwon Air Force Base. After returning back from Korea he chose to voluntary discharge from the army to try the civilian world.

Nicholas was out of the army for almost a year when he knew he missed the army and he wanted to go back. There were many events and situations that made him realize he had been gone from his family (the army)for far to long.  When he Reenlisted around April 2009, he met Nichole Ambegia, his wife now of 6 years, at MEPs reentering into the army as a 11b. When married, Nichole had two kids prior, Matthew and Dylan Wells became his children as if his own.

After basic/osit at Fort Benning, he was later stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky. During his time state side, he became a team leader and excelled quickly to adjust as an infantry men. He was scheduled for ranger school and later got injured at NTC before he could go. He was trained in LRM, CIED, Advanced Mount training and more..

December 2010, shortly after the birth of his third son Nieko Ambegia, he deployed to Khost Province in Afghanistan. During his time there, they went on numerous missions through out their sector. On July 5, 2011, his platoon was hit by an IED, coming down a boat ramp into a wadi, injuring many people from the blast . During his time there, he earned his CIB and SGT stips, and later returned home.

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After returning home from Afghanistan, Nicholas aquired some injuries and later decided his time as a soldier has come to an end and his mission was complete. However, Nicholas is now a 70 percent service connected disabled vet and his fight has still not ended and he knows it.

He is now paired with the POW Network and designed a shooting competition for veterans trying to help them with PTSD, as well as bridging the gap between soldiers of many generations. With doing this, it has helped Nicholas as well as others adjusting to their new life and finding new battle buddies.

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Nicholas has been through many hurdles in life and in war. He now knows he is always at home when he can help other veterans. Influence an individual or even mentor his kids. He has accepted he has to get help with his PTSD and he does it so he can finally come back home from Afghanistan as himself again.

Today, Nicholas lives in MO with his wife, his sons Matthew, Dylan, Nieko, and newest addition, Bradlie. He enjoys playing video games, shooting, watching movies with his family, cheering on the Chiefs, and now watching Matthew play football.  Nick was nominated bny his wife & we are honored to help make this Warrior Wish Come True!

This was the 3rd game of our 2015 “All32in17” mission to honor military warriors & keep legacies alive at all 32 NFL stadiums in 1 season for our 4th year in a row.  My Dad will be back home for the weekend to make Warrior Wishes come true at the Bears & Colts games.  Follow the mission live on Twitter @WarriorWishes & on Facebook “Operation Warrior Wishes”  Thank you for your support!

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

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Honoring The Legacy of SFC Bryan Hall In San Francisco

On the morning of April 10, 2009 a convoy of military vehicles left their safety of FOB Merez to conduct a mission in the town of Mosul, Iraq. What was supposed to be a routine mission turned deadly. An oncoming suicide bomber was loaded with explosives and detonated near the last military vehicle in the convoy, killing all five soldiers.

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The five killed were SFC Bryan E. Hall, SGT Edward W. Forrest Jr., SSG Gary L. Woods, CPL Jason Pautsch, PFC Bryce E. Gautier. SFC Hall was attached to 1ST Battalion, 67th Armored Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team,  4th Infantry Division.  This marked the most catastrophic single loss to the 2nd Brigade in 2009.

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SFC Hall was a 14 year Veteran of the US Army and he was on his first deployment during the war. SFC Hall had many awards and commendations, some of which included  Purple Heart, Bronze Star, 3 Army Commendation Medal, 8 Army Achievement Medal, Combat Infantry Badge, Air Assault Badge and that of US Army Ranger.

Bryan was married to Rachel and they have one daughter, Addison. His parents are John and Betty Hall and sister, Kristi Lynne-Hall Donelli. The loss of Bryan was devastating to his family, friends and the community as a whole. Bryan was a great man who stood for honor and freedom for our country. He is missed everyday and his spirit lives on through his daughter Addison.

“While Bryan’s life was short, he had known a life that most men long for – faith, shared the love of woman he adored, he knew the joys of fatherhood, he was doing a job he loved, and he had hunted and fished all over the United States. His life had been full.  He was an amazing man!” ~Betty Hall (Mom)

After 2 straight days of Making Warrior Wishes come true at the Raiders & 49ers games, My dad made his way over to AT&T Park to honor the legacy of SFC Bryan E. Hall & host surviving family members at the Giants game in his honor thanks to our friends at Virgin America.  

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My dad will be flying back to Chicago tomorrow morning to catch an overnight bus to Kansas City to make Warrior Wishes Come True at the Chiefs game Thursday night for the 3rd game of our “All32in17” mission.

SAVE THE DATE! 

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APRIL 9th, 2016

Join the Hall family at their  7th annual “Walk to Remember SFC Bryan E Hall.”   All proceeds from the walk will be split between the Bryan E. Hall Memorial Scholarship and an education fund established for SFC Hall’s seven-year old daughter, Addison.  The goal is to get 1000 participants, register to walk here!

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Game 2 – Making Warrior Wishes Come True in San Francisco!

After kicking off our 2015 “All32in17” mission yesterday in Oakland, my dad made his way across the bay to make Warrior Wishes come true at the 49ers game for the 2nd game of our mission to honor warriors at all 32 NFL stadiums in 1 season.

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We have made some amazing memories in San Francisco over the past 3 years.

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This year we were excited to make memories at the 49ers game while honoring Army Warriors Alex Vega & Harry Franco.  Both Soldiers were nominated to us by Wes, a warrior we hosted in 2012.  Wes told us that Harry & Alex proudly served our country & were HUGE 49ers fans!

Army Alex Vega

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Alex served from 2001-2004.  He served on a peace keeping mission in kosovo in 2002 & then on a deployment to Iraq in 2003.  He now works full time & enjoys spending time with his family.

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Army Harry Franco

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Harry Joined the US Army in 1988 & served on a Deployment to Desert Sheild/Storm with the 2nd Armoured Calvary Regiment.  In 1996 Harry left active duty and joined the US Army Reserves.  In 2003 he deployed with the 348th Transportation Company to Operation Iraqi Freedom were and got attached to the 3rd Infantry Division. We hauled fuel for the fighting forces of the front lines.  In December of 2005 Harry deployed back to Iraq and in August of 2006 their convoy was hit with an IED, thankfully they were prepared for situations like that & no one was injured in the attack. Harry was awarded the Combat Action Badge for the IED attack. Harry now enjoys cheering on his beloved 49ers, fishing and loves to Bar B Que.

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Speaking of BBQ, we want to thank our friends Lou, Vince, Mario & their tailgate crew for hosting us at your ultimate tailgate party.  We are extremely thankful for our friends in san fran as they have been helping us make Warrior wishes come true since 2012 .

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The warriors had an amazing time at the game & the 49ers surprised a lot of people by dominating the up and coming Vikings making everyone at Levi’s Stadium very happy.

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My dad will be making warrior wishes come true & keeping a warriors legacy alive tomorrow at the Giants game thanks to Virgin America.  He will be flying back to Chicago Wednesday Morning just in time to catch an overnight bus for the Thursday Night Chiefs game.  He will be honoring warriors at all 32 NFL stadiums in 99 days.  you can follow our mission on Twitter @WarriorWishes & Facebook, Like us at “Operation Warrior Wishes.

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE! 

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Game 1 – The Raiders Make Warrior Wishes Come True!

We are officially back in action making Warrior Wishes come true at all 32 NFL stadiums in 1 season for our 4th year in a row!  Last night my dad had the luxury of flying out to San Francisco thanks to Virgin America.  If you have never taken a Virgin America flight, you are missing out.  From the music & purple lights to the live Tv streaming on every headrest, its one of the best flight experiences!  Book a flight here!

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If you have been following our mission for a while, You may remember us getting stuck at the San Fran airport for more than 30 straight hours back in 2012.  For about 20 of those 30 hours, my dad slept of a red couch in the middle of the terminal.  Since my dad’s flight didn’t land until after midnight last night, he decided to take a stroll down memory lane & got a few hours of sleep on his favorite red couch before taking the BART over to Oakland to make Warrior Wishes come true!

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Today we hosted Army SGT Nick Starks, Army SSG Mike Garcia & honored the legacy of Army SPC Joseph Graves.  He met up with the warriors outside the O.Co Coliseum & headed over to the Bad Boyz of BBQ Tailgate.  Thanks to our friends at the tailgate, the warriors experienced the most ultimate tailgate in all of Oakland!  Great food, great friends & unforgettable memories!

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Speaking of ultimate experiences, the Oakland Raiders went all out this year to show their appreciation to these brave men & their family members.  The Raiders went above and beyond and provided Club level seats & field passes.  As the warriors were on the field taking it all in, the Raiders surprised them with upgraded seats and gave them front row seats on the field!!!

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SGT Starks told us that is was an amazing experience, one that he will never forget!

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Despite the Raiders loss, everyone had a great time, it was a day that none of us will ever forget!

1 game down, 32 more to go.  Over the next 99 days, my dad will be a man on a mission to honor military warriors & keep legacies alive by providing once in a lifetime memories at all 32 NFL stadiums.  He will be making his way across the bay tomorrow and make Warrior Wishes come true in San Francisco.

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you can learn more about our mission, nominate your hero, donate to the mission & get involved at www.warriorwishes.org.  Thank You for your support!

Army SGT Nicholas Starks

 Nick joined the Army in 2004. His MOS was 13b field artillery. He deployed to Iraq in 2007 where he performed combat missions.  He was hit several times by IED’s but the last hit sent him home 100% disabled with a TBI and PTSD.  Nick was medically discharged in 2010 from injuries sustained in Iraq.

 Today, Nick enjoys spending time with his wife, 2 young daughters and his service dog Ace.

 SGT Starks was nominated by his wife, Noe’l, who told us that Nick is a huge Raiders fan!  Noe’l is incredibly proud of how far Nick has come. “He’s an amazing father to our 2 little girls and an incredible husband. Nick is truly my Hero.”

He’s one of our heroes too.  It’s an honor to make SGT Starks Warrior Wish Come True at the Raiders game!

Army SPC Joseph Graves 

KIA 25 Jul 06  Baghdad, Iraq

 Joey Graves was born in Castro Valley and was raised by his father in the East Bay.  Being very involved in sports, of course Joey was an Oakland Raiders fan.  Joey was the only child of Kevin Graves.

When our country was attacked on 9/11, Joe was a sophomore at Liberty High School.  That event had enough of an impact, that in his senior year Joey joined the Army though the delayed entry program.  He was 17 years old.

His basic training was at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.  He then spent a month jumping out of perfectly good airplanes to get his wings at Ft, Benning, Georgia.

His first deployment lasted a year and was spent at different bases in South Korea.  He then joined his unit, the 110th MP Company, at Ft. Hood, Texas where he began training for his deployment to Iraq.  Three weeks prior to deployment he came home to be the best man and his father’s wedding.  That would be the last time that most of the family would see Joe alive.

 His father went back to Ft. Hood on the day of deployment to say goodbye to his only son, for what would be the last time.

On 25 July 06, a parent’s worst nightmare came true as Kevin received a knock on the door from two uniformed officers.

Since then Kevin and his wife Leianne have kept the memory of Joey and all his fallen comrades alive through their foundation ‘Some Gave All – The Joey Graves Foundation’ (www.somegaveall.us).  Today the Graves, as do so many others, hold dear the memories so that they will never forget…We shall never forget.

We are honored to be hosting SPC Joey Graves father, Kevin, today at the Raiders game in his son’s honor.  We ask that you share his story and encourage you to support their foundation to help keep SPC Graves legacy alive.  Gone But Never Forgotten.

Army SSG Mike Garcia

Mike Garcia is a native of Texas.  We won’t mention who his favorite team is.  Mike joined the Army right out of high school and completed his basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood.  He then was assigned to the 110th MP Company at Ft. Hood, Texas, where he met SPC Joey Graves.  They became fast friends and did everything together.

 On 25 July 06, Mike Garcia was the gunner in the lead Humvee when the convoy that he and Joey were traveling in was ambushed.  Mike’s vehicle took the initial explosion that stopped the caravan.  Even though the vehicle was disabled, Mike continued to provide fire to not only protect his men, but repel the attack.

Mike Garcia received an Army Commendation medal with Valor for his courageous actions that day.

Mike and Joey’s dad, Kevin, have developed a unique and close relationship.  Mike has even provided Kevin with two surrogate grandchildren.  Mike currently serves as a full time AGR Career Counselor in the Army reserves and recently moved to Northern California to spend some time with the Graves’ family.

Please join us in thanking SSG Garcia  for his service and for helping keep SPC Graves legacy alive!

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

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Kicking Off Our 2015 Mission in Oakland!

4 years ago my dad & I set out on a father & son journey that turned into a life changing mission.

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After hosting more than 70 warriors from opening night in New York to the Super Bowl in New Orleans, we decided to keep our mission going and created “Operation Warrior Wishes,” a 501c3 non profit foundation.
Our mission is to honor heroes & keep legacies alive by providing once in a lifetime experiences to warriors from the battlefields to the ballfields.
Since 2012 we have been honored to host more than 1000 warriors & Gold Star families to more than 300 events nationwide.
Over the next 99 days my dad will be on the road traveling by planes, trains & a lot of $1 Megabusses, to host & honor military heroes at all 32 NFL stadiums in 1 season for our 4th year in a row!  So buckle up & get ready to be inspired as you follow us on this wild ride.
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We are kicking off our mission at the Raiders game today by honoring SGT Nicholas Starks, SSG Mike Garcia & the legacy of SPC Joseph Graves. (See their bio’s below)
Operation Warrior Wishes couldn’t have made today possible without the following support. We would like to thank Virgin America for providing transportation, Stay Bridge Suites (San Fran) for accommodations, the Oakland Raiders for tickets & field passes, our friends Vince & Lou for tickets, New Era for providing Raiders Caps, and the Bad Boys of BBQ for hosting us today at your amazing tailgate party with some of the best & craziest fans in the NFL!
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!
Army SGT Nicholas Starks
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Nick joined the Army in 2004. His MOS was 13b field artillery. He deployed to Iraq in 2007 where he performed combat missions.  He was hit several times by IED’s but the last hit sent him home 100% disabled with a TBI and PTSD.  Nick was medically discharged in 2010 from injuries sustained in Iraq.
Today, Nick enjoys spending time with his wife, 2 young daughters and his service dog Ace.
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SGT Starks was nominated by his wife, Noe’l, who told us that Nick is a huge Raiders fan!  Noe’l is incredibly proud of how far Nick has come. “He’s an amazing father to our 2 little girls and an incredible husband. Nick is truly my Hero.”
He’s one of our heroes too.  It’s an honor to make SGT Starks Warrior Wish Come True at the Raiders game!

Army SPC Joseph Graves 

KIA 25 Jul 06  Baghdad, Iraq

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Joey Graves was born in Castro Valley and was raised by his father in the East Bay.  Being very involved in sports, of course Joey was an Oakland Raiders fan.  Joey was the only child of Kevin Graves.  

When our country was attacked on 9/11, Joe was a sophomore at Liberty High School.  That event had enough of an impact, that in his senior year Joey joined the Army though the delayed entry program.  He was 17 years old.

His basic training was at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri.  He then spent a month jumping out of perfectly good airplanes to get his wings at Ft, Benning, Georgia.

His first deployment lasted a year and was spent at different bases in South Korea.

He then joined his unit, the 110th MP Company, at Ft. Hood, Texas where he began training for his deployment to Iraq.  Three weeks prior to deployment he came home to be the best man and his father’s wedding.  That would be the last time that most of the family would see Joe alive.

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His father went back to Ft. Hood on the day of deployment to say goodbye to his only son, for what would be the last time.

On 25 July 06, a parent’s worst nightmare came true as Kevin received a knock on the door from two uniformed officers.

Since then Kevin and his wife Leianne have kept the memory of Joey and all his fallen comrades alive through their foundation ‘Some Gave All – The Joey Graves Foundation’ (www.somegaveall.us).  Today the Graves, as do so many others, hold dear the memories so that they will never forget…We shall never forget.

We are honored to be hosting SPC Joey Graves father, Kevin, today at the Raiders game in his son’s honor.  We ask that you share his story and encourage you to support their foundation to help keep SPC Graves legacy alive.  Gone But Never Forgotten.
SSG Mike Garcia
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Mike Garcia is a native of Texas.  We won’t mention who his favorite team is.  Mike joined the Army right out of high school and completed his basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood.  He then was assigned to the 110th MP Company at Ft. Hood, Texas, where he met SPC Joey Graves.  They became fast friends and did everything together.

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On 25 July 06, Mike Garcia was the gunner in the lead Humvee when the convoy that he and Joey were traveling in was ambushed.  Mike’s vehicle took the initial explosion that stopped the caravan.  Even though the vehicle was disabled, Mike continued to provide fire to not only protect his men, but repel the attack.

Mike Garcia received aArmy Commendation medal with Valor for his courageous actions that day.

Mike and Joey’s dad, Kevin, have developed a unique and close relationship.  Mike has even provided Kevin with two surrogate grandchildren.  Mike currently serves as a full time AGR Career Counselor in the Army reserves and recently moved to Northern California to spend some time with the Graves’ family.

Please join us in thanking SSG Garcia  for his service and for helping keep SPC Graves legacy alive!