After Kicking off our 2016 mission in Denver on Thursday night, my dad came home for less than 24 hours and was back at the airport to head out to Baltimore & Washington DC to Make Warrior Wishes come true this weekend.
He was only home for about 18 hours before hole was back on the road for Game #2 of 2016 All32in17 mission in Baltimore.
Tha fully he didn’t have to take any overnight busses, however, he landed at the Baltimore airport at 11pm so decided to spend the night.
First thing in the morning he made his way to M&T bank stadium to meet up with the tailgate crew and the Warriors.
Over the past 4 years, we have made some incredible memories making Warrior Wishes come true in Baltimore.
One of our biggest challenges every game is the parking and/or coordination of everyone meeting at the game. The past 2 weeks has been easy and we are working towards setting up this “model” in every city. In Dallas,bDenver and few others, we set up a Fire Truck ride with the local Fire Dept and they pick every one up at the restaurant where we have dinner and escort us to the game. Today was a little more challenging, but of course we made it work as always.
We were honored to be hosting Marine Darin Willey and his wife Maria, Leah & Kyle Weidner – daughter and son-in-law of Fallen Army Major Robert Marchanti (Leah’s mother and Major Marchanti widow, Peggy, was one of our Ravens guests 2 years ago). We also hosted Boston Bombing survivor,and Ravens Fan, Erica Brannock.
Brian, Chip and Ric – Aka “The Posse,” a group of Ravens SuperFans hosted us and our VIP guests at their incredible Ravens tailgate at that corner of Osten & Sharp. They have been helping us make Warrior Wishes come true at their tailgate for the past 3 seasons! It has become a tradition for us to take a group picture in front of that “Ravens bus” every year!
After a little food and fun, we headed to the stadium for a little more fun. Thanks to Lisa and Dick at the Ravens, our VIP guests were escorted onto the field before the game to get some photos and watch PreGame practice from the sidelines! The Ravens also gave us 4 tickets for our heroes , while Brian from the Posse donated the other 2.
As game time approached, everyone headed for their seats. Thanks to the Ravens & the Posse, everyone was treated to seats in the Front Row!!! Talk about an amazing experience!!! And we were just getting started!
The most emotional part of the game was the incredible Pre Game ceremonies – on this 15 year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, a giant American flag covered the field, as an emotional rendition of the National Anthem was sung, followed by the Bald Eagle flying around the stadium as the flyover went overhead.
The game itself was defensive battle with the home team Ravens getting the win 14-7 over the visiting Buffalo Bills.
We have multiple Ravens games on our schedule this season and are looking forward to making more warrior wishes come true at M&T Bank stadium in the near future. We are also hosting heroes there for the Army-Navy game in December!
Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank the Baltimore Ravens for providing tickets, Field Passes and an unforgettable experience. We also would like to thank Brian, Chip and Ric from the Posse for providing tickets, tailgate & support over the years. Thanks to New Era Cap for providing the Ravens caps for the warriors.
After the game, my dad walked over for his annual casino visit, he’s not a gambler, but needed to do something to pass the time. He won a whopping $5.00 and jumped on a bus to Washington DC He will be back in action tomorrow making Warrior Wishes come true at the Redskins game. Stay tuned for more details!
MEET THE WARRIORS
SGT DARIN WILLEY
United States Marine Corps, 1st Battalion 7th Marines “Suicide Charley” Co.
As a result of the explosion, Erika had a portion of her left leg amputated and suffered severe damage to her right leg. Erika had traveled to Boston with her sister (Nicole Gross) and brother –in-law (Michael Gross) to cheer on her mother (Carol Downing) who was running the marathon. Erika’s mother was just blocks from the finish line when the bombs went off.
Erika is an incredibly unique individual who always thinks of others before herself. Erika is a natural educator and a surrogate mother to all the children in her preschool. Every parent trusts her implicitly with their children, and when she is not with “her kids” at school Erika typically would spend her weekends and evening babysitting them as well. She has an endless amount of love for all children!
Erika grew up in Ellicott City, Maryland and attended Mt. Hebron High School. She attended Towson University and received her undergraduate degree in 2008. Erika is currently enrolled in Towson’s Master Program for Early Childhood Education. Erika was on track to graduate in the spring of 2014.
SOURCE – http://www.thebrannockfund.com/
Contact Craig for more information about the mission (630) 339-6714