Game 22 – Warrior Wishes Come True In Cincinnati!

November 7, 2015

After making Warrior Wishes come true in Atlanta & Charlotte over the weekend my dad was able to come home for a few day before getting back on the bus and heading out to Cincinnati to honor the legacy of PFC Zachary Salmon at the Bengals game. (See his story below)


Here are some of our favorite memories from making warrior wishes come true in Cincy.

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My dad arrived in Cincinnati around 1pm & made his way over to Cafe Barista to have lunch with Zach’s family.
Before the game the WhoDey Baby & the Bengals Bomb squad went above and beyond to help us honor PFC  Salmons legacy.  Honor Americas Valor provided a customized piece of artwork to provide to his family and we had a moment of silence to reflect on the sacrifice made and remember Zachary Salmon.  Our friends from ESPN Chris & Rick also stopped by to say hi and show their support.
With ticket prices at $170 a piece for the game, my dad didn’t plan on attending the game.  He planned to  escort PFC Salmons family into the stadium & find a place to watch the game across the street.  As they made their way over to the stadium from the tailgate they heard one of Zach’s favorite songs playing & moments later found a ticket on the sidewalk.  Without hesitation, PFC Salmon’s mom said to my dad “Zach left that for you.”
Maybe it was just a coincidence?  But we like to think that Zach was there at the game with his family.  Look at this orb surrounding the family in this picture!
Those we love don’t go away; 
They walk beside us every day.
Unseen, unheard but always near. 
Sill loved, still missed, and very dear.
The bengals went on to beat the Browns by the score of 31-10 thanks to a 3 TD performance by Andy Dalton & Tyler Eifert.
It was an honor to host this Gold star family at the Bengals game and share the legacy of PFC Zachary Salmon.
We would like to thank Cafe Barista for hosting us for breakfast, the Bengals Bomb Squad for helping us honor Zach’s legacy at your tailgate, New Era Caps for providing Bengals Caps & Honor America’s Valor for providing the custom artwork for Zach’s family,  most importantly, we would like to say thank you to PFC Salmon’s family for giving us the opportunity to share his legacy.
My dad will be spending the night in Cincinnati before heading out on a bus to Buffalo in the morning.  This will be by far his craziest stretch of our mission.  He will be making warrior wishes come true in Buffalo Sunday, Philadelphia at the Flyers game on Tuesday & In Boston at the Bruins game on Thursday.  Then he comes home Friday to hop on a bus to Nashville Saturday to make warrior wishes come true at the Titans game Sunday.  He will wrap up the madness is Cincinnati the following Monday and honor warriors at the Bengals game for the 2nd time in  12 days.



Army Private First Class Zachary S. Salmon made the Ultimate Sacrifice on January 12, 2011 serving during Operation Enduring Freedom after insurgents attacked his unit with small-arms fire.  Pfc Salmon was twenty-one years old.  PFC Salmon was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 32nd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

In his mothers own words;

Zack was truly a one of a kind young man.  Never in his 21 years did Zack let life pass him by.  If one thing can be said about him, HE LIVED!  For those of us that love him, he still does.  He would NEVER allow someone to feel sad, bad or unhappy if he could help it!  His silly antics were synonomous with his name.  There was nothing he wasn’t willing to do to bring a smile to your face!  


He had the biggest and most caring heart of most anyone I know and he never knew a stanger.  In the economy that we are living in, he came to me and said , “mom, I’m going to join the Army.  I have to be able to give my son a life and it’s just not going to happen making 8, 9, 10 dollars an hour with no insurance.  I want to do something to not only make him and you and everyone proud, but I want to help protect our country so that my son may be safe and have a chance at a life where he can lay down his head at night and not be afraid!”

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 Zack loved his family!  He comes from a small immediate family but a very large extended family and that was where his core values came from.  He understood that family will always be there!
His son was his life.  Noah is what motivated every thought that he had.  He was proud to be a daddy, and understood all that came with that responsibility! 
Zack and his sisters were best friends.  Often times I wondered where one ended and the other began!  They are all so much alike with that same silly attitude!  I wouldn’t have it any other way!
In highschool, Zack played football and ran track.  Athletics were second nature to him.  There was nothing he did not excel at!  After highschool, he became a registered boxer at Golden Gloves gym in  Knoxville  ! 

Loyalty and respect….two words that he lived by!  His friends, well they where his brothers!  I became Momma Fish to so many!  LOL  In particular, when he joined the Army the brotherhood bond became a way of life.  There is in particular a young man, Joseph Frank, who is not only his Army brother, battle buddy…..he is a “brother” to Zack.  I was blessed to be there when Zack came into this world and Joseph was blessed to hold Zack as he left this world.  For that I will always be grateful.

There is never a second of any day that my heart does break all over again, but there is also never a second that I don’t think of my son and smile!  We do not live without Zack, nor do we say he is “dead”, he just physically isn’t here!  We live with him everyday and in our hearts he lives!!!”


When Zachary was KIA, he was at the rank of Private First Class and was promoted posthumously to Specialist.

His decorations include: The Bronze Star Medal, Purple Heart, Army Commendation Medal, The Army Good Conduct Medal, The National Defense Service Ribbon, The Afghan Campaign Medal, The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, The Army Service Ribbon, The Overseas Service Medal, The NATO Medal & the Combat Action Badge

 He was survived by
his Son – Noah Salmon
Mother – Sonya  Renee C ross and Step father
Father – Steve Salmon
Sisters – Kelsi Salmon and Kaitlin Maurer
Brother – Steven Salmon
Grandparents and many aunts, uncles and cousins.
Right before Zack deployed he got a tattoo of a bible verse that Zachary believed with all his heart.
 James 4:14 “Life is but a vapor that appears and vanishes that quickly”
I love my son with all my heart, all that I am and never could there be a mother more proud.

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