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