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Game 47 – Warrior Wishes Come True At The Pro Bowl!

Throughout the 2016 season, Operation Warrior Wishes made wishes come true at more than 40 regular season games & 3 playoff games including the NFC Championship game in Atlanta last week.

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This weekend marked the beginning of our traditionally very busy Super Bowl week. The craziness usually doesn’t start until Monday, but this year with Pro Bowl in Orlando, we “kicked” it off little earlier to make wishes come true at the Pro Bowl.

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My dad landed in Orlando just after midnight Friday night and slept a few hours at airport before hopping on a shuttle bus first thing Saturday morning.  

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The wounded warrior amputee football team was still in town after they played their game Friday night.  A few of our friends and previous VIP guests play on the team, so my dad planned to stop at their hotel to say hi.  

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It ended up being Perfect timing.  As he arrived at their hotel, previous VIP Guests Army Sgts Michael Kacer and Mike Smith were just heading over to Wide World of Sports to watch one of their friends play in the Women’s International Football game So my dad hopped in their car and hung out with them at Disney for awhile and bought lunch for them.  

After they headed back to their hotel, my dad stuck around to check out the “Pro Bowl Experience” & met up with some old neighbors before making his way back to the airport for another “good night sleep.”  

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My dad said “the airport had great couches.”

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On Sunday morning, dad made his way up to Buffalo Wild Wings to meet up with Army Spc John Robert Hill and his friend and mentor, Army SFC Jerry Mike.  Although SPC Hill had never been a guest of our before, he was a Captain at our 3rd annual Warrior Wishes scramble this past August.  

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My dad welcomed these very deserving men to Buffalo Wild Wings, along with another previous guest, SGT Anthony Trzeciak and his family.  

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As you can see in the picture, SGT Trzeciak is a big Eagles fan. It was an honor to host him in Philadelphia during our 2015 All32in17 mission.  

Jerry and John arrived first, which was perfect cuz it gave my dad a chance to catch up with John & get to know Jerry a little but before Anthony & his family arrived.  My dad said he couldn’t stop thinking how much Jerry reminded him of White Sox slugger Frank Thomas. Jerry said most people say he looks like Michael Clarke Duncan of “Green Mile.”   

Anthony & his family had tickets already, so we just hosted them for dinner to catch up.  

Everyone had a great time hanging out getting to know each other over some delicious wings before they headed over to Camping World Stadium to watch the best players in the NFL face off against each other in the 2016 pro bowl!  

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This was everyone’s first Pro Bowl experience so the guys made sure to take a lot of pictures.  They got a couple in front of the stadium and of course a few with the cheerleaders, before heading inside.

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It was a chilly night in Orlando.  Everyone enjoyed great seats located right behind the goal post.  SPC Hill was cheering hard for the NFC and his Dallas Cowboys.  While SFC Mike was cheering just as hard against him for the AFC and his Miami Dolphins.  In the end, the AFC defeated the NFC 20-13 in one of the lowest scoring Pro Bowls in history.  A great time was had by all!

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Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Nate and Nick from Buffalo Wild Wings for providing the Pre Game Meal, New Era Cap for providing Caps for the Warriors and Chive Charities for their support.  

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we would like to thank SPC John Hill, SFC Jerry Mike and each and every one of the warriors we saw over the past few days, for your service & sacrifices.  It’s appreciated, has not gone unnoticed & will never be forgotten.  We sincerely hope everyone appreciates what you have done for our freedom, as much as we do!

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After the game, the Warriors gave my dad a ride to the airport, where he spent his 3rd straight night… before he jumped on his Monday morning flight to Houston.  He will be in Houston all week long making wishes come true at some of the most exclusive Super Bowl events around town, including the Big Game!  Stay tuned for more details.

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Game 46 – The Atlanta Falcons Make Warrior Wishes Come True At The NFC Championship Game!

For the first time in almost a month, my dad is back in action making Warrior Wishes come true.  The last 2 weeks we have been honored to host warriors at both the Packers & Chiefs playoff games.  However, due to inclement weather, my dad has not been able to travel to personally make the wishes come true.  

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So for the first time in 3 weeks, my dad was “back on the bus” and headed to Atlanta to host a group of warriors at the NFC Championship game where the Packers & Falcons were facing off for a bid to Super Bowl LI!  

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Thanks to our friend Steve Cannon, who had helped us honor heroes at the Super Bowl in New Orleans in 2013, we were able to make wishes come true at the NFC championship game.  

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Steve is now in charge of getting the new state of the art Mercedes Benz stadium built in Atlanta, that will open next season.

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So today’s game, win or lose, will be the final game ever played in Georgia Dome!  

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We are honored to be hosting Army Sgt Jeffrey Shonk, Army Sgt Darius Welch & Army Spc Andrew Smith with his Wife and Caregiver Tori (see bios/pics below)

My dad arrived in Atlanta after a 16 hour bus ride at 9:15am.  His plan was to meet the Warriors for lunch before the game, then walk them to the stadium before finding a place to watch the game outside the stadium.  He had to catch a 10pm bus ride back to Chicago after the game, so there was little time to spare.  

My dad is not real fond of quick trips like this because it doesn’t provide enough time to hang out with the warriors, especially when my dad doesn’t go to the game.  But when expensive Playoff tickets are donated, we make sure they go directly to our nations heroes, and not to us, so he made it work!

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My dad met up with the Warriors at Taco Mac located near the stadium.  Daryl, the manager provided delicious pre game Meals for everyone again.  It’s the best place in Atlanta to meet before & after a Falcons game to fill up on great food & grab a drink.  We cannot thank Taco Mac enough for helping us make warrior Wishes come true in Atlanta!

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Everyone had a great time at lunch!  My dad presented the Warriors with their brand new Falcons caps thanks to our friends at New Era! 

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After lunch, the gang headed over to the stadium to snap a few pics before heading inside to watch the Packers & Falcons battle to become the 2016 NFC champions!

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Once the Warriors were inside, My dad made his way back to Taco Mac to watch the game. 

Jeff, Darius, Andrew and Tori were treated to awesome seats & were all very excited to see their Falcons clinch their first Super Bowl Berth in almost 20 years!  The only thing standing in their way was a Red hot Aaron Rodgers & the Green Bay Packers!

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Everyone expected a high scoring shootout between 2 high flying offenses & they didn’t disappoint.  The only surprising thing is that the Falcons completely dominated the Packers & never let their foot off the gas.  An early Packers fumble, as they were driving to the end zone, clearly changed the momentum of the game.  The Packers quickly fell behind 17-0.  The Warriors had plenty to cheer about all game long and relished in watching he confetti fall after the game as the Falcons won 44-21!  They will be headed to Houston in 2 weeks to play in Super Bowl LI!  

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Needless to say, this was a once in a lifetime experience for the Warriors & everyone had a great time!  We couldn’t have made it possible without the help of Steve Cannon & the Atlanta Falcons who provided the opportunity to make these wishes come true!  We also want to thank our friends at Taco Mac for providing lunch!  

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!  

 After the game, the warriors got back on the road home, while my dad hopped back on another 16 hour overnight bus back to Chicago.  He will be in Orlando next week to make wishes come true at the 2017 Probowl & the following week in Houston to make wishes come true all week long leading up to our season finale at Super Bowl LI!  Stay tuned for more details!  

MEET THE WARRIORS

ARMY SGT JEFFREY SHONK

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Jeffrey Shonk joined the United States Army July 8th of 2008. He was stationed at Fort Stewart, GA  & deployed for the first time in July of 2010.

2 months and 10 days into his first deployment on September 23rd Jeffrey, PFC Gebrah Noonan, and SPC John Carrillo were shot in their room by their roommate.

Jeffrey is the only survivor from that tragic night. He spent the next 4 years in rehab learning how to walk and talk again after being shot in the head as well as working to get back to normal once he mastered walking and talking.

Jeffrey is currently in culinary school following his second dream to become a top chef like one of his Idols Tom Keller. Jeffrey & his wife are proud parents to 4 children.  

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Game 45 – Warrior Wishes Come True At The Chiefs Playoff Game!

Last week we kicked off making wishes come true in the playoffs hosting warriors in the “Frozen Tundra” of Lambeau Field!

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This week we are honored to be hosting Marine CPL Christopher Lee at his first ever Kansas City Chiefs game!

 Marine Cpl Christopher Lee served 9 years with deployments to Iraq, Afghanistan and Korea.  He was nominated by his stepmom and dad.  

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For the second straight bad weather prevented my dad from being at the game to personally host Cpl Lee & his father at Arrowhead stadium.  Despite the fact that the National Weather Service was calling a threat of severe Ice storms throughout the Kansas City area, Chris & his dad braved the weather.  

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Thankfully, the NFL changed the time of the game from noon to 8:20 & hoped that the ice storm will have already passed thru the area. Their plan worked perfectly!  

My dad did his famous “radio show contest” to surprise CPL Lee with the playoff tickets.  His stepmom said she wish she had his reaction on camera.  Needless to say, Chris was very excited and We think his dad was just as excited when his son asked him to go with.

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We have said it before and will say it again.  we love the father-son experiences the best for obvious reasons.  There is nothing better than seeing a father and son get to experience their first game ever together!  Those memories last a lifetime!  

Fortunately, the weather never got as bad as they thought it was going to be.  It rained most of the morning but was not cold enough to freeze over.   It gave Chris & his dad time to get to The stadium early to experience some Pre Game activities.

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The Chiefs played well all season long.  They clinched their division & a first round bye in the final week of the regular season.   The only problem is that they were facing a red hot Steelers team who has looked unstoppable over the past few weeks.  Earlier in the season, the steelers steamrolled the Chiefs 43-14.

Thankfully the Chiefs did not get blown out this time.  In fact, the Chiefs did not allow a Touchdown the entire game!  Unfortunately A 4th down penalty Late in the 4th quarter with the Chiefs up 16-15 cost them the game… The Steelers went on to win 18-15 by scoring 6 field goals in the game.  

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Despite the tough loss, Cpl Lee & his dad said they “had the time of our lives.  Scott told my dad that the time he spent with his son was “so special.”  We do our best to make sure that EVERY “Warrior Wish” is memorable and special, and love to hear that it was!

Since we were not able to personally host Cpl Lee and his dad, we will be inviting them to the Royals game this summer on our Battlefields to Ballfields Mission.  

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We want to thank CPL Christopher Lee for his 9 years of selfless service & sacrifices to our country.  We are glad you had a good time with Dad!

Next week, weather permitting, my dad will be back in action making Warrior Wishes come true at the NFC Championship Game in Atlanta thanks to the Falcons! Stay tuned for more details!

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Game 44 – Playoff Wishes Come True At Lambeau Field!

For the 5th straight year we completed our “All32in17” mission by making Warrior Wishes come true at 43 NFL games throughout the 2016 regular season!   

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With the regular season behind us, it was time to focus on making wishes come true at one playoff game each week leading up to the final game of the 2016 mission at the Super Bowl in Houston!  

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One of the most important pieces of our mission is to provide an experience at each game.  For us, it’s more than just a game.  We want to personally thank each warrior for their service & sacrifices.  We do our best to provide each of them with a stress free day filled with memories.  That’s why my dad is typically on the road to host each warrior even though he doesn’t always go to the games with them, especially when tickets are expensive.  

We decided to make wishes come true during Wild Card Weekend in Green Bay.  We have received a lot of nominations for Packers games over the years & are still working to make every wish come true.  Plus Green Bay is only a 3 hour bus ride away.  

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Unfortunately, inclement weather prevented my dad from traveling to Green Bay for the game.  Thankfully, our friends, the Tompa’s, stepped in to host the Warriors! 

Unbeknownst to each other, Jeff Mumm nominated his wife Army SPC Alissa Mumm for the Packers game.  Coincidentally, Alissa had nominated her dad for a Packers game!  Her father, Army MSG Curt Myers proudly served our country for 37 years!  

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My dad pulled out his “radio show” trivia contest to surprise them with FRONT ROW tickets to the playoff game!  

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The 1919 Kitchen and Tap, inside Lambeau Field provided a delicious meal before the game.  It gave everyone a chance to warm up inside the atrium before stepping out into the “Frozen Tundra.”

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The Packers won their final 6 games and beat the Detroit Lions last week to win their division.  They were one of the hottest teams to enter the 2016 playoffs.  The Giants had a playoff spot locked up and rested a majority of their starters during their final game of the regular season. 

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Aaron Rodgers & the Packers continued to stay hot in the freezing cold temperatures.  Randall Cobb scored 3 times in the game and the Packers went on to win by the score of 38-13!  

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My dad & I watched the game from home and actually saw the Warriors celebrating a couple of times as the Packers scored in their end zone right in front of them!

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My dad reached out to the Warriors after the game to make sure that everything went well & to thank them for their service again.  

they told him how much fun it was to spend that special father-daughter time together – and especially at a Packers playoff victory. We are extremely proud to have provided this opportunity for them and would like to THANK them both for their service & sacrifices to our country!

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We will be back in action next week making wishes come true at the Chiefs – Steelers game in Kansas City!  Stay tuned for more details!

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MEET THE WARRIORS

ARMY MSG CURT MYERS

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My name is Curt J. Myers and I am a retired Army Veteran, having served 37 years and 7 months in the Army – Active duty, National Guard, and Reserves. In my time span, I have held three military occupational skills (MOS’s), have lived all over the United States and abroad. My military career began in 1973 when I went to basic training at Ft. Jackson in South Carolina. I have held several positions and a multitude of jobs while serving in the military. In 1991, I was sent to Iraq during Operation Desert Storm, where I obtained the bronze star. I have been honored with several different awards and opportunities obtained in my years of service with the Army, with one of my highlights being my daughters entrance into the Army as well during my time as a recruiter. When I left active duty and joined the reserves, I held employment at Ft. McCoy as a military technician with the 88th Regional Support Command. I finally retired my military and military technician service July 2012.

Being retired now, I still have anything but free time. I currently live in Hurley, Wisconsin with my wife Terry and my golden retriever Maddie. We are the owners and operators of Trails and Tales Outdoor Adventures, LLC in which we provided guided rides and services through miles of Iron County ATV and snowmobile trails. The travel bug that I caught in the military has not left and my wife and I enjoy taking our camper out and hitting the open road to explore old and new places alike. We have four grandchildren, Parker, Keaton, Sandra, and Hailey, whom we spending every moment possible with. I have also been laboriously working a B-52 Crash Site memorial in Hurley, Wisconsin. I strive every day to remember the fallen, the missing, and those who serve today. I am also an avid supporter of the Green Bay Packers and the Chicago Cubs, a love of sports I passed on to my daughters as well and they are now passing on to their children. I also enjoy hunting and fishing as well being able to teach my grandchildren the skills to be successful sportsmen in the future.

ARMY SPC ALISSA MUMM
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My name is Alissa Mumm and I am currently from Platteville, Wisconsin. I grew up as one of two children to a father who was active duty. We grew up all over, Wisconsin, Texas, and Germany, experiences many probably will never have. Though in some sense, moving so much was hard on us, I followed in my father’s footsteps and at the age of 17, and enlisted into the Army Reserves as a Medical Laboratory Technician. I was originally assigned to the 114th Combat Support Hospital out of Madison, Wisconsin and later, the 452nd Combat Support Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was in basic training on 9/11, a day which I consider to be a pivotal turning point on my desire to serve this country, despite not really seeing any footage until 3 years following that day. I served with others from New York and waited with them as they anxiously tried to reach out to family and friends. I completed basic at Ft. Leonardwood, Missouri and left right away for advanced individual training phase one at Ft. Sam Houston, Texas and phase two at Ft. Gordon, Georgia. I returned home in 2003, where I started school at UW-Platteville. I went on to graduate with my Bachelor’s and later, my Masters Degree, from UW-Platteville, both degrees in Criminal Justice. Following my completion of my Bachelors Degree, I started working for the VA Hospital in Madison, WI and my passion and devotion to our service members grew even stronger. While enrolled in a leadership development class, I discovered a position designed to work with the Veterans who were dealing with the “wrong side” of the criminal justice system. This spurred my to start my Masters degree, which cumulated in a thesis paper, titled “The invisible wounds of war: recommendations for recognizing and assisting veterans in the criminal justice system”. Though, as passionate as I am about working for our Veterans, I am currently working for the State of Wisconsin Public Defender’s office and, perhaps fortunately, only a very minute fraction of clients served are Veterans, though I still hope one day to find a job which will allow me to work for Veterans in whatever capacity I can, a passion inspired by my own service and by the passion and commitment I see my mom and dad give every day to Veterans. Outside of all of this, I love spending time with my husband Jeff, our three-year-old Sandra, and our one-year-old Hailey. We love the outdoors, hunting, fishing, atv’ing, and spending time together and of course, cheering on the Green and Gold!! GO PACK GO!!!