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The Pittsburgh Penguins Make Warrior Wishes Come True!

While in Columbus watching the USA Warriors Hockey team, CPL Jeffrey Laursen introduced my dad to the team coordinator, Lori.  

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After sharing a little about our mission, she told us about Army SGT Rob Easley, one of the players on the team, who was a die hard Penguins fan that wanted to attend the Wednesday night Blackhawks Vs Penguins game in Pittsburgh.

We knew SGT Easley was a HUGE fan because we had the opportunity to host him a few years ago & he drove 4 hours from Walter Reed to attend the game! 

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We told Lori we would do our best to surprise Sgt Easley with tickets to the game & reached out to our friend George.  George reached out to his contact at the Penguins & they generously offered tickets to SGT Easley for the game!  

Needless to say, Rob was excited for the opportunity!  He brought his Brother & dad with him to the game. The Penguins went above and beyond by providing tickets in the exclusive Lexus Club!  

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Unfortunately for Rob & the Penguins, they fell behind 4-0 in the first period! They eventually fell to the Blackhawks, losing by the score of 5-1.

Despite the score, Sgt Easley had a great time & got to enjoy some good family time together.  

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Operation Warrior Wishes would like to send a special thank you to George for getting the ball rolling and to Bob and Jimmy at the Penguins for helping us make this Warrior Wish come true!    

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, We want to thank Sgt Easley for his service and sacrifices to our country – it was great to see him up on his prosthetics this time, after attending in his wheelchair a couple yrs ago!  Thank you for never giving up & being an inspiration Rob!

SEE SGT EASLEY’S STORY HERE

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The Blue Jackets Make Warrior Wishes Come True!

My dad has been on the road making Warrior Wishes come true since last Thursday.  He’s made stops in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia, Boston & Washington DC.  

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For the 7th time in 8 days, my dad took another overnight bus & arrived in Columbus, Ohio on Friday afternoon.  

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This is our first ever visit to Columbus to make Warrior Wishes come true at the Blue Jackets game!

We have done a couple Ohio State games in the past, but neither were home game in Columbus.  One of them was the BCS National Championship Game in 2015.

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Upon arrival after his 10 hour bus ride, my dad had some time to explore the “new city” and figure out where he was going, since he had never been there before.  He stopped by the Ohio State campus & found his way to Nationwide Arena, home to the Columbus Blue Jackets.

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This was the first day in the past 9 days that my dad got a “day off” as the Blue Jackets game wasn’t until Saturday.  But if you recall a few days back, when my dad was making wishes come true at the Rangers game, my dad learned that the USA Warriors hockey team was going to be in Columbus playing a game today!

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So instead of just getting a hotel and resting up, he spent his “day off” cheering on the USA warriors hockey team!  He enjoyed watching Army CPL Johnny Laursen defend the goal!  

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In addition to seeing Johnny again, My dad also got to see Kevin Gatson as well.  Kevin was our guest to the Penguins game last week.  He too plays for the USA Warriors sled team.  My dad enjoyed seeing them, as well as all of the players on the USA Warriors team who we have come to know over past few years.

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 After the game, my dad joined the USA warriors at their “after party” where he met up with our friend Shawn “Whodeybaby” Moore. Shawn himself is a veteran.  He is the Cincinnati Bengals most iconic Super fan.  He and the Bengal Bomb Squad have been making warrior wishes come true since 2012.   They have also raised money for our mission.  Shawn lives in Columbus & couldn’t pass up the opportunity to meet up with some of the Warriors and my dad.  My dad said he hardly recognized him without his face paint & bengals gear.

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After the party, my dad finally got to sleep in a bed at a hotel.  Yes, you read that correctly, he actually got a hotel for the first time in 10 days…  I got lucky & “named my own price” to get a hotel for $60. My dad couldn’t pass it up.  Needless to say, he slept like a baby!

He woke up the next morning & made his way down to the lobby to realize he was actually staying at the Flyers hotel.  He was able to talk to a few of the players and coaches about our mission.

Thanks to our friends at Gordon Biersch, located right outside the stadium, My dad met up with all the Warriors & a very special Gold Star family before the game.  

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We were honored to be hosting Army warriors,  Sgt Aaron Barnhardt, Sgt Tony Robinson, Sgt Joe Schiefer, and Sgt First Class Daniel Jensen along with the Gold Star family of Army Sgt Arthur Mora.

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Lunch was awesome as everyone had a great time getting to know each other over a delicious meal.  My dad also distributed some awesome patriotic Blue Jackets Caps from our friends at Ner Era.  We can’t thank Gordon Biersch & New Era for their continued partnerships!

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After everyone finished lunch, they made their way to “Nationwide Arena” in their new Caps to take a few pictures in front of the stadium before heading inside.  

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Once inside the stadium, everyone made their way to great seats provided by the team & they watched a defensive battle between the Flyers & Blue Jackets.  Despite the lack of scoring, there was no shortage of action as both teams fought early and often.  Everyone enjoyed watching the teams “duke it out.” In the end, the Blue Jackets came out on top scoring the only goal of the game and sent everyone home happy!

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I think it’s safe to say, our inaugural Columbus trip to see the Blue Jackets was an incredible success!  My dad said the city of Columbus was great & he looks forward to making more wishes come true there again in the future!  

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Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank, the Columbus Blue Jackets organization for providing an unforgettable experience at Nationwide Arena!  We also want to thank Valerie & Stuart at Gordon Biersch for providing the pregame meal & New Era for hooking up the Warriors with the awesome Blue Jackets caps!  

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we want to thank Army Warriors Aaron Barnhardt, Tony Robinson, Joe Schiefer & Daniel Jensen as well as the Gold Star Family of Army SGT Arthur Mora.  Your service and sacrifices are appreciated, they have not gone unnoticed and will never be forgotten!  

After the game, My dad said his goodbyes to both our guests and the USA Warriors hockey team, who were also at the game.  Thankfully for my dad, it was an early game which meant my dad could catch an early bus home and sleep in his own bed after being on the road making wishes come true at 11 games in the past 11 days!   He will have a week off before heading back out on the road to kick off our Battlefields to Ballfields mission!  Stay tuned for more details!

2017 Battlefields To Ballfields Schedule

MEET THE WARRIORS

ARMY SGT ARTHUR MORA

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SGT Arthur A. Mora, Jr. of Fort Stewart, GA, and formerly of Pico Rivera, CA.  SGT Mora made the Ultimate Sacrifice on October 19, 2005, while serving on active duty in the U.S. Army in Balad, Iraq, where he had been deployed since July 2005.

He was born March 16, 1982, in Monterey Park, CA, to the late Arthur A. Mora, Sr. and Sylvia M. (Ramos) Mora, and a 2000 graduate of El Rancho High School, Pico Rivera, CA. Arthur enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2000 and was assigned to the 5th Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 3rd Infantry Division, Fort Stewart, GA. – Legacy.com

He grew up on the rough and tough streets of East Los Angeles. All around him were gangs, drug addicts, alcoholics, and trouble. Knowing that this was not the life for him he made his choice at the young age of 5 to join the Army and be a soldier like his Grandpa.” – submitted by family.

Source – http://www.travismanion.org/hero/sgt-arthur-a-mora-usa/

SFC DANIEL JENSEN

SFC Jensen is a native of Minneapolis, MN and graduated from Lehigh Senior High School in 2003. He attended The University of South Florida and Graduated with his Bachelor’s Degree in History in 2011. He joined the U.S. Army Reserve in 2003 as a 92A Automated Logistical Specialist and graduated BCT from Ft. Jackson, South Carolina and AIT from Ft. Lee, Virginia. SFC Jensen’s assignments have been 212th Quartermaster Company in Arden Hills, MN, 810th Military Police Company in Tampa, FL as the PLL Clerk, Minneapolis BN as a Recruiter and now in Highland Ridge as a Center Leader.

SFC Jensen’s Professional Development and Schools are as follows: Senior Leader Course, Advanced Leader Course, Primary Leadership Development Course, Center Leader Course and the Army Recruiting Course.

Among his military awards and decorations are: Army Commendation Medal (3rd Award), Army Achievement Medal (2nd Award), Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Reserve Component Achievement Medal, Noncommissioned Officers Professional Development Ribbon with Numeral 3, Armed Forces Reserve Medal (“M” Device and Bronze Hourglass), Iraq Campaign Medal (3 Campaign Stars), Overseas Service Ribbon Numeral 2, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Drivers Badge (Wheeled), Sharpshooter Marksmanship Badge and The Army Recruiting Badge.

ARMY WARRIOR TONY ROBINSON

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My name is Tony Robinson at the age of 18 I was living with my best friend Joe we weren’t really going anywhere in life one day we were sitting around and we watch recruiting videos for the Army we seen one video in particular that caught our eye it was the video for a 19 Delta Cavalry Scout we both thought that sounded really awesome so within the next few days we are at the recruiter’s office and then off to MEPS before we knew it We join under the Buddy program but it didn’t end up going that way and i would leave just a few weeks before Joe we would later run into each other again at Fort Knox Kentucky where we were doing our osut training that was the last time we would see each other during our Enlistment. From there I went to the 2nd Infantry Division 8th Squadron 1st Cavalry Regiment at Fort Lewis Washington I’ve been deployed to Afghanistan as part of the first-ever Stryker Brigade there that was in 2009 I was there until July of 2010 and I got out of the army December 31st 2010 completing my 4 year contract from there I become a security guard not really sure what I wanted to do in life and once again I was bored sitting around watching TV and I found myself watching a show called lock up and I decided I wanted to be a corrections officer and that was back in 2011 I’ve now been a corrections officer for the state of Ohio for five years.

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Warrior Wishes Come True at The Washington Capitals Game!

For the 6th time in the past 7 days, my dad spent the night on an overnight bus.  He started in Cleveland, then traveled to Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, back to New York & arrived in DC this morning.  His travel schedule has been crazy, but my dad says “getting to see the smiles on all the Warriors faces makes it all worth it!”

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As the sun began to rise, my dad’s bus pulled into our nation’s Capital. He spent the morning touring the Washington monument and a few of the awesome Smithsonian museums.  

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If you have never been to DC before, put it on your bucket list!  It’s an awesome place filled with history.  Every Smithsonian museum has free admission & they are all amazing!  The Americans at war exhibit is one of our favorites. 

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The exhibit takes you chronologically through the history of America’s military.  From the Colonial era to recent conflicts.  More than 800 artifacts, images & interactive stations show how we have fought to establish our independence, determine our borders, shape our values of freedom and define our role in the worlds affairs.  It’s a humbling experience and one not to miss!

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My dad also made sure to stop by the White House.  A police escort arrived while my dad was outside.

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Today we were honored to be hosting Army SGT Christopher Custer & his family at the Washington Capitals game.  

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My dad set up lunch with our guests at the Greene Turtle which is adjacent to the Verizon Center – home of the Washington Capitals and Washington Wizards. 

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He met up with SGT Chris Custer, along with his wife Ann Marie and 5 year old daughter around 4pm at the Greene Turtle. Upon arrival, my dad said It was very clear they were big Capitals fans as they were all wearing Caps jerseys.  

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We have been trying to host Christopher for close to a year now, as both his wife and his mom, had nominated him to see Cavs when they were in DC last season. SGT Custer is a big Lebron James fan as well as Capitals, and TJ Oshie fan!

We want to thank Leoni & the Green Turtle for hosting us for dinner before the game.  The Greene Turtle says is more than a sports bar and grille.  They believe in being a community hangout for all ages. They serve great food & drinks in a fun, casual atmosphere built on the excitement & unity of sports.  It’s located right by the stadium making it the perfect place to go before & after Caps & Wizards games!  

SGT Custer & his family enjoyed picking out their New Era “Caps” caps.  

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After dinner, my dad walked the Custer family to the stadium & got a few pictures before they headed inside to watch the Blue Jackets take on the Capitals.  They wanted to get in the stadium early so they could go down by the ice to take a family photo and watch the players warm up.  

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The game itself started out slow as both teams went scoreless in the first 2 periods.  In the 3rd each team scored and forced the game to overtime.  Unfortunately for SGT Custer & his family, the Capitals lost 2-1 in a shootout. 

Despite the loss, they all had a great time & we were honored to finally meet Chris and have the opportunity to host him and his family at the Capitals game. We look forward to hosting him at a Cavs game down the road.  

Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank The Green Turtle for providing a delicious pregame meal & New Era for providing Capitals caps!  

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we want to thank SGT Custer for his service and sacrifices!  

After the game, I told my dad he should have just joined the Blue Jackets on their team plane to Columbus.  Lol, but instead he will be hopping on another overnight bus tonight to Columbus to make Warrior Wishes come true at our first ever Blue Jackets game!  He also plans on cheering on the USA Warriors hockey team in Columbus tomorrow night.  Stay tuned for more details!

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MEET ARMY WARRIOR CHRISTOPHER CUSTER

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My name is SGT Christopher Custer I enlisted into the Army in November 2005 as a Cavalry Scout. I deployed to Operation Iraqi Freedom 5 in 2007 with 5-7 Cavalry Squadron, 3rd Infantry Division out of Ft. Stewart Georgia. In 2010 I changed my MOS to information technology and deployed over to South Korea in 2010-2012. I served in Korea with the 36th Signal Battalion out of Camp Walker, South Korea. In 2013 I changed my MOS to Military Police where I was stationed at West Point as a Military Police officer. In 2015 I deployed to Korea with the 557th Military Police Company out of Camp Humphrey’s, South Korea. My award included the Army Commendation Medal (2), Iraqi Campaign Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal (3), Overseas Service Medal (2), Korean Service Medal and the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by President Obama. I was honorable discharged out of the Army in October 2016, I am currently working for the Department of the Army. I am supported by my wife Ann Marie Custer and 3 daughters, Christine Custer, Rhobie Biares and Michal Biares.

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The New York Rangers Make Warrior Wishes Come True!

Over the past 6 days, my dad has been on the road making warrior wishes come true at 7 games in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia & Boston!  He’s spent a lot of time on the bus but says it’s all worth it when he sees the smiles on the Warriors faces!

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Immediately following last nights Bruins game, my dad hopped on the bus to get some sleep & woke up around 5am back in New York City.  

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Throughout the years, we have enjoyed making Wishes come true in the big apple!  

And much like my dad, it’s a city that never sleeps.  Upon arrival he made his way over to Times Square to see what was going on at Good Morning America.  

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He then made his way over to the Westin Times Square.  The Westin Times Square is where our mission began almost 5 years ago on September 5th, 2012.  

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We never imagined it would have turned into what it has today, but Omar, an employee at the Westin told us we were about to embark on something special  & he couldn’t have been more right.  I will never my conversation with Omar on the escalator in the hotel.  I didn’t really understand what he was telling me, but I get it now.  He has believed in our mission from day 1!  We can’t thank him enough for his support!  It’s an honor to call him a friend.  Every time we are in NYC, we always stop by to say hi & catch up.  

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With freezing cold temperatures on a windy day, my dad did his best to stay inside.  It’s too bad, because there is so much to do & see around the city…

Today we are proud to be hosting Army CPL Johnny Laursen & Marine Jeffrey Laum at the New York Rangers game.  My dad braved the cold & walked a few blocks down the street to the world famous Madison Square Garden.

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He met up with the Warriors for lunch before the game at “Local,” a restaurant located right across the street from the “Garden.” It’s the place to go before and after any event at Madison Square Garden. Especially in the summer.  They have a great rooftop bar, which was unfortunately closed because of the weather…  Local had helped us make wishes come true in the past & we thank them again for hosting everyone for a delicious meal before the game!

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My dad enjoyed getting to know the Warriors over dinner.  Upon arrival, CPL Laursen presented my dad with a USA Warriors Challenge coin. It’s always a humbling honor when we receive coins. He had met Johnny before, because he is the Goalie for the USA warriors Hockey team.  However, this was the first time we have had the opportunity to host SGT Laursen other than at lunch when the USA warriors played in Chicago.  

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Johnny also told my dad that his team would be in Columbus this Friday to play a game.  Randomly, my dad also had plans to be in Columbus on the same day.  And since the Blue Jackets game wasn’t until Saturday, it was a scheduled “day off” for him.  My dad told Johnny he would be there & was excited to have the opportunity to watch him in action!  

As I mentioned before, the Local is literally steps away from Madison Square Garden.  So after everyone filled up, they walked across the street to snap a couple pictures outside the stadium, before heading inside to warm up. 

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Once inside, the guys picked up a couple souvenirs for their kids. They met up David from the Rangers.  David provided the Warriors a little tour of the facility and  escorted them down by the glass for the Pre Game warm ups.  It was an awesome experience!  

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Eventually everyone made their way up to their seats before the game.  The Rangers gave the warriors a score board shout out during the game, but Unfortunately they fell short against the Islanders by the score of 3-2.  Despite the loss, everyone had a great time!

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Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank to David & the New York Rangers for providing the great seats, the scoreboard message & an overall awesome experience!   We also want to thank Jason at the Local for the pregame meal & New Era Cap for providing Rangers caps to the Warriors!

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we want to thank Jeffrey & Johnny for their service & sacrifices!

Immediately following the game, my dad walked down the street to catch his 11:30pm bus to Washington DC where he will be making Warrior Wishes come true at the Capitals game tomorrow.  Stay tuned for more details!

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The Boston Bruins Make Wishes Come True!

My dad has been on the road since Thursday making Warrior Wishes come true in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, New York, Philadelphia & Boston!

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After an amazing experience last night at the Celtics game…

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my dad had an opportunity to get a hotel & decided to sleep at the airport instead.  Every penny we save gives us more opportunities to make more wishes come true!

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Over the years we have made some unforgettable memories in Boston thanks to the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox & Bruins.  From last nights “Heroes Among Us” presentation, to a “8 spoke Salute” at the Bruins game.  And who could forget our night of inspiration where we teamed up with the patriots to host & inspire many Boston bombing survivors & wounded warriors opening night of the 2013 season! 

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All of the Boston teams have gone above and beyond to help create special memories & make warrior wishes come true.  For that we are thankful & tonight’s Boston Bruins game was no different. The Bruins set up a little surprise for SGT Jonathan Janiec, our guest to tonight’s game.

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SGT Janiec served in the US Army from 2003-2013.  He deployed 3 times serving in Iraq in 2003-2004 with the 10th Mountain Division (LI).  In 2009-2010 and again in 2012 with the 82nd Airborne Division.  Jonathan grew up in Somerville Massachusetts & is a big Bruins fan!  

Before meeting up with SGT Janiec for dinner, my dad headed to another special lunch at Boston Beer Works for the 2nd straight day.  

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Today he met up with 2 more inspiring Boston Bombing survivors. Jeff Bauman & Roseann Sdoia.  

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Both Jeff & Roseann brought along their life savers, literally. Jeff was accompanied by Carlos Arredondo.  Carlos helped Jeff get the medical attention he needed after the attack & has been there to support Jeff’s recovery every step of the way.  You can read Jeff’s inspiring road to recovery in his book “Stronger”

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Roseann Sdoia brought along her new fiancé,  firefighter Mike Materia.  Mike was one of Roseann’s first responders after the attack. He was there to hold her hand the entire ride to the hospital & has never let go since!  It’s an incredible love story!  Roseann recently wrote a book about her journey too.  It’s called “Perfect Strangers.”  We cannot wait to read it!  

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It is truly incredible to have watched each and every one of the Boston survivors move forward in their own way.  They have never given up & continue to be inspirations!  We are very proud to call them friends and are humbled to have had the opportunity to host them at the Patriots 2013 Opening Night game & other events.  Memories we will never forget!

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We want to thank Boston Beer works for providing us the opportunity to catch up with these amazing survivors over delicious food and drinks!  My dad really enjoyed the 2 hour long lunch together and looks forward to seeing them again down the road. 

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My dad said his Goodbyes and headed down the street to Tavern In The Square to meet up with Sgt Janiec and his girlfriend for their 4:00 Pre Game Dinner.  

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Sgt Jonathan Janiec was nominated by Max Spahn.  Max was our guest for the Red Sox game last year and does a lot of work for student veterans in Boston. 

We want to thank Tavern In The Square for providing a delicious pregame meal & help us make Warrior Wishes come true in Boston! 

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The best thing about Tavern In The Square, other than the food & Drinks, is their location!  After dinner everyone walked across the street to get a few photos in front of TD Garden.

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My dad walked SGT Janiec & his girlfriend into the game.  Before they headed inside, he told Jonathan’s girlfriend to have her camera ready at the end of the first period.  The Bruins had a little surprise for SGT Janiec to thank him for his service & sacrifices.  They presented him with a Bruins team autographed hockey stick at his seat!

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The smile on his face says it all.  It was a gift & a day that SGT Janiec will never forget.  Unfortunately the Bruins fell to the Senators 3-2.  

Operation warrior wishes would like to once again say thank you to our friends at New Era for providing Bruins caps as well as Boston Beer Works and Tavern In The Square for providing meals for the warriors.  We also want to send a special thank you to Kerry and the Boston Bruins for providing a once in a lifetime experience at the Bruins game!   

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

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most importantly, we want to thank Army SGT Jonathan Janiec for his dedicated military service to our country!  Your service is appreciated & will never be forgotten!

My dad will be back on the bus tonight headed to NYC to make Warrior Wishes come true at tomorrow nights New York Rangers game.  Stay tuned for more details!

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The Boston Celtics Make Warrior Wishes Come True In The Front Row!

After making warrior wishes come true in Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia…

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My dad was off to Boston for a couple very special days. Not only will he be hosting warriors at both Celtics and Bruins games, but he will also be reuniting with a number of the Boston Bombing survivors for dinner.  

Back in 2013, just 6 months after that horrific day in Boston, Operation Warrior Wishes teamed up with Robert Kraft & the New England Patriots to host many of the Boston Bombing survivors for a “Night of Inspiration” at the Patriots home opener.

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Each of the survivors was paired up with a wounded veteran with similar amputation,as their mentor for the weekend. In fact, a couple of the Warriors had actually visited them at the Boston hospital to begin  mentoring  the survivors immediately after the attack.  It was a humbling day full of inspiring people that we will never forget! 

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My dad arrived at Boston’s “South Station” after another overnight bus at around 11:00 AM. He was excited to be back in Boston & couldn’t wait to catch up with old friends & make new friends while making more wishes come true!  

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For the first time this week, my dad was actually going to be in the same city overnight, so I offered to get him a hotel.  I found one an express deal near the airport for $65 on Priceline.  My dad declined the offer & found a local gym to workout & clean up at before meeting everyone for dinner before the game.  He said after his workout he felt “refreshed” and said he would spend the night at the airport & save the money to make more wishes come true.  He’s basically been homeless since he left on Thursday… but he will do just about anything to make warrior wishes come true & would rather use the money for the mission & not himself.

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My dad set up dinner at Boston Beer Works with Army SGT David Bronson, Marine Noah Fallon & Boston Bombing survivor, Heather Abbot before the game.

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Boston Beer Works, just one block from the stadium,  is the perfect place to meet up for great food & drinks before & after any event at the TD Garden.  We want the thank Boston Beer works for their generosity & hospitality!   

My dad met up with the Warriors at Boston Beer Works around 3:30pm.  He enjoyed catching up with SGT Bronson, his wife & Heather, as well as meeting Noah for the first time.  

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Heather and David got along well, as they were talking prosthetics and found out that David plays golf with JP Norden, another Boston Bombing survivor. We also learned that Heather started up her own non profit organization.  The Heather Abbott Foundation was established to help provide customized prostheses to those who have suffered limb loss through traumatic circumstances.  They envision a world where individuals who have suffered limb loss through traumatic circumstances can live the lives they want.  You can learn more about her foundation at www.heatherabbottfoundation.org.  We are so proud of heather & how far she has come since we last saw her.  She is a true inspiration & it’s an honor to call her a friend.  

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After dinner, my dad said goodbye to Heather (as she was not attending game) and headed over to the Celtics front office. 

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David was nominated by his wife & We nominated David to receive the “Heroes Among Us” recognition at the Celtics game.  The Heroes Among Us program is one of the premier community outreach programs in professional sports. Established as an initiative of the Boston Celtics in 1997, Heroes Among Us honors individuals who have made an overwhelming impact on the lives of others.  The award is not only presented to Military veterans it is presented to an individual or group of individuals who, through their unique commitment and humanitarian spirit, have made exceptional and lasting contributions to the Boston community.

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SGT Bronson was chosen to receive the award & the Celtics went above and beyond to provide him & Noah an experience that they would never forget!  It started with a very extensive and informative tour of the Celtics corporate office.  During the tour, SGT Bronson learned that the front office upgraded his seats to the Front Row directly next to the Celtics bench!!!

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After the hour long tour, it was “Go Time.”  Everyone walked down the block to the TD Garden & entered in the “VIP entrance” to get staged where we needed to be for Sgt Bronson’s Ceremony. 

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Needless to say, everyone was excited to sit courtside & what was already an incredible night, got even better when the Jumbotron began telling Sgt Bronson’s story, the stadium became more and more electric and especially as he walked out to center court holding the “Heroes Among Us” Award.  He was given a standing ovation for his service & sacrifices.  It was an incredible moment!  

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After the recognition ceremony, the Wizards & Celtics tipped off. Sitting court side was truly amazing!  At one point, Jae Crowder of the Celtics decided to take a break in SGT Bronson’s seat.  It was pretty funny.  

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Boston led most of the game.  But the Wizards cut the Celtics lead down to 5 points in the 4th quarter.  In the end, their rally fell a little short & the Celtics got a big win over the Washington Wizards 110-102.

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The most emotional part of the Celtics experience didn’t happen until after the game.  A 6 year old boy approached SGT Bronson on the court.  He wanted to meet him & thank him for his service.  He learned that this 6 year old had just months to live & his incredible family took him to the game because they are trying to do as much as they can with him with the time they have left.  SGT Bronson gladly took time to meet with the boy and even gave him his brand new Celtics Cap to put a big smile on the boys face!  Seeing him smile was the highlight of our night.  We cannot even imagine what their family is going thru & are keeping them in our prayers.  We ask that you do too.

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Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Heather, Sam and the Boston Celtics for going above and beyond to provide a once in a lifetime experience at the Celtics game that the Warriors will never forget. We also want to thank James at Boston Beer Works for providing the delicious Pre Game dinner, New Era Cap for providing the Celtics caps and Heather Abbott for joining us for at dinner.  We Wish her continued success with her Foundation!

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we want to send a special thank you to Army Sgt David Bronson and Marine Noah Fallon for their service & sacrifices. It’s appreciated, has not gone unnoticed & will never be forgotten!  

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Don’t forget to say a prayer tonight for the  young 6 year old boy & his family!  

My dad will be back at the TD garden again tomorrow night making wishes come true at the Bruins game.  Stay tuned for more details!

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MEET THE WARRIORS

MARINE NOAH FALLON

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My name is Noah Fallon.  My military career began in August of 2003 where I entered the United States Marine Corps as an Infantry Rifleman.  After completing my infantry training I went to Chesapeake, Virginia for Marine Corps Security forces School and immediately following that went to Kingsbay, GA to assist in securing strategic assets within Strategic Weapons Facility Atlantic.  Our mission was to prevent unauthorized access or loss of control of the facility and its assets.  After two years at kingsbay, GA I received orders to 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion in Camp Lejeune.  Shortly after arriving to the unit, our Battalion was deployed overseas assist in operations for Operation Iraqi Freedom in Iraq.  From September 23rd 2006 to March 30th 2007 our platoon conducted over 200 combat patrols, 25 intelligence based raids, and 25 escort missions.   I arrived back in the United States April, 7th 2007 and was honorably discharged from the United States Marine Corps as a Corporal on May, 13th 2007.  I currently live in Londonderry, NH and work for the Department of Homeland Security as an Inspector for Federal Protective Service.

ARMY SGT DAVID BRONSON

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My name is SGT(RET) David Bronson. My military career began back in November 2002 when I entered the US Army as a 19 kilo armor crewman on an M1A1 Abrams main battle tank. Shortly after completing my basic training and advanced individual training I deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. The unit I deployed with was 3/69 armor battalion 3rd infantry division, Ft Stewart Ga where I served as a loader and gunner.

My unit redeployed to Ft Stewart where we trained heavily to be ready for our next deployment in 2005 in support of OIF3. I deployed again to Iraq in January 2005 to the city of Samarra, 10 miles south of Tikrit and 60 miles north of Baghdad. On this deployment I served as a gunner as part of a PSD team(personal security detachment).

On Sept 9 2005 my patrol started out as pretty much any other but ended up changing my life. I was the gunner on the trail humvee doing a typical security patrol when our humvee was struck with an IED that consisted of two 155mm artillery shells. My humvee was hit on the drivers side and immediately tore the 300lb rear door clean off the hinges as well as tearing through the turret on the roof of my truck where I was standing.

The following 6 days I was in a coma but my medic told me what had happened. When my medic SPC Haigh reached my humvee from the lead gun truck they were unable to get to me because the rear seat was on fire and the passenger side door was damaged by shrapnel making it unable to be opened. After a few minutes they were able to extract me through the roof of the truck and get me to a nearby aid station we had placed throughout the city. At that point I had a chest tube inserted and coded while they were doing so. From there I was transported to balad medical hospital and packaged to make the flight to Germany. Once I reached stateside I was in a coma for another 3 days and later found out that I had coded two more times in Germany while in surgery and also went through 81 pints of blood in the 48 hours following the IED attack.

After roughly a month at Walter Reed in Washington DC I was presented with my Purple Heart award by president Bush after joking a few days prior that I only wanted the president to present it to me(half jokingly). The following year was extremely difficult while learning to walk again after losing my left leg and getting shot in my right knee, I also had extensive damage to my left arm, left lung and left ear resulting in plastic surgery to correct the disfigurement. I stayed at Walter reed for a year and a half until May of 2007 when I was medically retired and currently live in Auburn NH with my wife Cara and our 3 year old son and our 15 month old daughter.

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Warrior Wishes Come True At The Flyers Game!

Immediately following the Sixers game, Army Warriors Derek Stone and Roy Tinney Jr Along with Marines Darryl Hall and Chris Claude made their way over to McFaddens for lunch before heading back to the Wells Fargo arena for the 2nd half of our “doubleheader.”

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Our friends Johnna and Dale at McFaddens have been helping make Warrior Wishes come true since 2013!  They and always provide good food and great fun for our warriors.  McFaddens is the perfect place to meet up for great food and drinks before during and after any sporting event it Philadelphia!  

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After the delicious meal everyone made their way back to the stadium to get ready to watch the Carolina Hurricanes face off against the Philadelphia Flyers!  

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The Warriors had plenty to cheer about early on as the Flyers jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first period!  However, Carolina scored 3 unanswered goals!  With less than a minute left in the game, the Flyers scored to send the game into overtime & the stadium into a frenzy!  

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Just 38 seconds into overtime Brad Schenn scored the game winning goal for the Flyers!  It was the perfect way to end an epic doubleheader day!

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It was a memorable day for everyone involved.  Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank McFaddens for their continued support & New Era Cap for providing Flyers caps to the Warriors.  

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we would like to thank to Army Warriors Derek Stone and Roy Tinney Jr, as well as Marines Darryl Hall and Chris Claude for their service & sacrifices to our country! 

After the game, SGT Stone gave my dad a ride to the train so he could catch his overnight bus to Boston where he will be making warrior wishes come true at the Celtics & Bruins games over the next few days!  Stay tuned for more details.

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Warrior Wishes Come True At The Sixers Game!

After spending the past few days on the road to make warrior wishes come true in Cleveland, Pittsburgh & New York, he finally admitted he was tired… In fact, he used the word “exhausted.”  

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With 5 more days left on this mini mission to the east coast, he hoped to rest up & refresh.  However today was not the day to rest as he was hosting warriors at a rare “doubleheader.”  It’s not often we have the opportunity to make wishes come true at 2 games in 1 day, but when both the Sixers & Flyers have home games on the same day in the same arena, it’s a perfect opportunity create an unforgettable day for a few deserving warriors!

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Last night, While my dad was out in Brooklyn making wishes come true at the Islanders game, Kara Stone had taken her husband Army Sgt Derek Stone out to dinner at Maggianos in Cherry Hill to surprise him with the opportunity to attend his first NBA & NHL games ever!  

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Mike, the manager at Maggiano’s helped us set up the surprise.  He told SGT Stone that he was the 100th table of the night & had the chance to win tickets on a radio game show.  Of course my dad was on the other line to play “radio host” and asked him a few easy questions. When SGT Stone found out he “won” and was going to go to both Sixers & Flyers game in 1 day he said “I feel like I am in a dream.” Needless to say, he was excited for the opportunity.  

My dads bus arrived in Philadelphia at 2:30am & he spent a few hours sleeping at the bus station before meeting up with the Warriors to make wishes come true at the Sixers afternoon game.

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Army SGT Roy Tinney & Marines Darryl Hall and Chris Claude were our other guests for the game(s).

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Over the past 5 years, we have hosted over 2,000 warriors at more than 500 events across the country.  Chris Claude was actually our FIRST GUEST EVER on September 5th 2012. My dad truly enjoyed catching up with him and appreciates all the Warriors he has nominated over the years.

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It was clearly obvious that Sgt Stone was both excited and appreciative for this opportunity.  He gave my dad a big hug when they met each other.  

This was Derek & Chris’ first NBA game ever.  The Warriors truly enjoyed hanging out with each other & watching the Celtics & Sixers go back and forth in the first half. The Celtics lead by as much as 11 in the 3rd quarter but ultimately the Sixers battled back to get the 105-99 victory!  

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After game we originally had planned to stay in the stadium & watch them transform the basketball court into a hockey rink, but instead everyone went to Mcfaddens for a quick bite to eat before the 2nd game of our double header day in Philly.  

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Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank John at 215Sports.comand the Sixers for providing tickets to the game.  We also want to thank our friends at McFaddens for their continued support!  It’s the best place to meet up before & after any sporting event in Philly!  

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we want to thank Army Warriors Derek Stone & Roy Tinney Jr along with Marines Darryl Hall & Chris Claude for their service & sacrifices!  

We will be back In a couple hours making wishes come true at the Flyers game for the 2nd half of our doubleheader day in Philadelphia! Stay tuned for more details!

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The NY Islanders Make Warrior Wishes Come True!

After making wishes come true in Cleveland & Pittsburgh, my dad made his way to New York on another overnight bus.

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He arrived in New York City at 6:30am and promptly made his way to Brooklyn to host  Army Cpl Christopher Levi and Marine Sgt John Grauer Jr. at the Islanders game!

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The islanders helped us make wishes come true in 2014 when SSG Travis Mills dropped the puck at the Nassau Colosseum. 

at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on January 27, 2014 in Uniondale, New York.

Here today, a couple years later, the Islanders have a new home (Barclays Center) & continue to help make wishes come true!  

Thanks to Buffalo Wild Wings, the warriors got to enjoy some pregame wings.  Cpl Levi was running a little late so they ordered him a “To Go” box of wings and took them across the street to meet Chris at the Calvin Klein VIP Entrance.  

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While Chris ate his wings & got to know John, My dad went in to pick up the tickets.   He then escorted John and Chris through security and into the stadium.  My dad didn’t plan to attend the game, but got lucky again and was able to scalp a ticket for $20.  

It worked out great because Chris was being honored as the Islanders “Hometown Hero.”  They honored him in the first period and my glad he did not miss it!  

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The Islanders went above and beyond again to help make warrior wishes come true as Army Cpl Levi received a standing ovation from the sold out Barclays Center crowd.  Both Chris and John were on the Jumbotron during the ceremony.

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My dad made sure to thank Ann and the Islanders organization for setting up the “Hometown Hero” Recognition. It was special for Cpl Levi as he just celebrated his “Alive Day” yesterday and his birthday was just last week.  

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John & Chris both had a great time meeting each other and hanging out for the afternoon.  My dad was truly honored to host these brave Warriors at the game.  We are all forever grateful for their service and sacrifices!

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Operation Warrior Wishes couldn’t have made today so special without the generosity of New York Islanders.  From the tickets to the salute, it was an unforgettable day!  We also want to thank New Era For providing the Warriors with brand new Islanders caps & to Buffalo Wild Wings for providing the delicious wings for lunch!  

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

My dad will be back on the bus tonight to Philadelphia to make wishes come true at both the 76ers & flyers game tomorrow!  Stay tuned for more details!

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MEET THE WARRIORS

ARMY CPL CHRIS LEVI

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Corporal Christopher Levi, an Army Ranger, is lucky to have made it back to Long Island alive.

The 29-year-old Holbrook man remembers clearly the day in 2008 his legs were blown off, each limb landing on opposite sides of his Humvee when it rolled over an improvised explosive device in Iraq, mangling his right arm. His fatigues ran red with blood. His rifle was destroyed.

After a lengthy stay at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., Levi now lives at home, where he continues his grueling rehabilitation, learning to walk again with prosthetics. Yet despite losing his legs, Levi seemingly evokes Revolutionary war hero Nathan Hale, who famously said his only regret was that he had but one life to give for his country.

“I was a little bit more upset that I wouldn’t be able to rejoin my brothers in this deployment,” Levi told CNN.

SOURCE- http://archive.longislandpress.com/2012/03/22/the-price-long-island-paid-for-the-iraq-war/

MARINE SGT JOHN GRAUER JR.

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Graduated mattituck high school 2000& Joined the marines 

First fleet anti terrorism  security forces 5th platoon 

Deployed in 2001 to Japan then from there 47 different countries in support of the global war on terrorism 

2003 second light armored reconnaissance then stone bay rifle range

2/25 resurvist from 2006 to 2010 where deployed to Iraq from 2009-2010

Earned the rank of Sargent and held instructor status in many different training 
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The Pittsburgh Penguins Make Warrior Wishes Come True!

After making wishes come true at the Cavaliers game in Cleveland, my dad jumped on an overnight bus to Pittsburgh for the 2nd game of our mini NBA/NHL tour.

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He arrived in the “steel city” at around 5am.  He says “The Pittsburgh Greyhound station is one of the best in the country.”  mainly because it is new and has a great location.

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As the sun rose, the city of Pittsburgh started moving. My dad made his way over to the Marriott City Center hotel to thank Morris and his staff for providing accommodations for SGT Kevin Gatson, our guest for the evening.  

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The hotel was conveniently located right across the street from the PPG Paint Center, home of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

 Sgt Gatson was not going to arrive until 4pm, so my dad met up with Mike from Mr G’s Sauce, our tailgate sponsor for Steeler games.  He took my dad on a little tour of Pittsburgh, including a stop at the old Pirates stadium, Forbes Field. He also gave my dad a little history lesson on the steel industry.

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My dad also hoped to meet up with Marine Brandon Rumbaugh, who was our very first Steelers guest in 2012.  Unfortunately, He lives about 40 minutes away & was bartending to raise money for a local military charity.  Brandon is very inspirational young man who does a lot of speaking to kids and veterans.  He is also a huge advocate for homeless veterans. It would have been great to catch up with him.  

Snow began to fall around 3:30 which caused some traffic on the roads & caused Kevin to be a little late.  As he arrived at the Marriott, the staff was there waiting to greet him & thanked him for his service. They surprised him a welcome package in his room.  SGT Gatson was impressed with the warm welcome.

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SGT Kevin Gatson was on patrol in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan on July 12, 2010, when he and other troops had to climb a wall in their way. Two teams of soldiers made it over, and Gatson, the first man from the third unit, was just about to clear the barrier when the man ahead of him stepped on a pressure plate and a bomb buried in the wall exploded.  The blast took Gatson’s left leg, left index finger, and his left thumb.  His right leg was nearly destroyed as well. For more than a month after he made it back to Walter Reed, he had major or minor surgeries three days a week, rotating from the operating room to the intensive care unit and back again, he said. He doesn’t know how many operations he underwent.

Sgt. Kevin Gatson spent three and a half years recovering at Walter Reed & now plays sled hockey with the USA Warriors Hockey team! He never gives up & is a true inspiration!

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“I don’t feel like I have limitations,” Gatson says. “I feel anything I want to do, I’m able to do. All it takes is me saying I’m going to go do it.”

We have had the pleasure of meeting Kevin in the past, but have never had the opportunity to host him before. We recently treated the USA Warriors hockey team to lunch when they were in Chicago earlier this year.

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SGT Gatson is a huge Pittsburgh sports fan.  He even has a custom Pittsburgh Steelers prosthetic leg! 

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This was SGT Gatson’s first Penguins game in Pittsburgh.  He has seen them play in DC before.  Needless to say, he was excited for the opportunity to see his team play on home ice.  

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My dad walked SGT Gatson & his friend over to the stadium and snapped a few pictures in front of the stadium before escorting them inside.  They got a green commemorative Penguins T-Shirt since it was St Patrick’s Day. 

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My dad hung around the stadium for a little bit to thank Cathy and the Penguins for helping make us continue to make warrior wishes come true at Penguins games.  

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He himself did not have a ticket to the game & hoped to find a scalper to sell him a reasonably priced ticket. Unfortunately, he was not able to get one so just after game started,my dad headed Back to Marriott to watch game.  While walking back a guy sold him a snow soaked ticket that looked like he picked it up off the ground for $10!  Skeptical about the legitimacy of the ticket, my dad bought it & surprisingly it was actually a valid seat!  

It worked out perfectly & gave my dad the opportunity to spend a little more time to hang out with SGT Gatson. 

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The game itself was very entertaining. with 5 goals scored in first period, the Penguins had a 3-2 lead and went on to win the game 6-4. A great time was had by all!

Operation Warrior wishes would like to thank Cathy and the Pittsburgh Penguins for their continued support throughout the years.  We would also like to thank Buford’s Kitchen for providing a pregame meal, The Marriott City Center for providing accommodations for SGT Gatson & New Era Cap for providing brand new Penguins Caps!  

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we would like to thank SGT Gatson for his service & sacrifices.  

My dad left the game a few minutes early in order to catch his 10:30pm overnight bus to New York.  He will be in the Big Apple tomorrow to make warrior wishes come true at the Islanders game! Stay tuned for more details.  

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            Don’t forget to Nominate a Warrior for an upcoming game on our 2017 Battlefields to Ballfields Mission

Click on the schedule to learn more about the mission & nominate your hero.

2017 Battlefields To Ballfields Schedule