After making warrior wishes come true at the Texans game & a great night of catching up with old friends, Manny picked my dad up on his way to the airport.
They both had early morning flights. Manny was headed back home to Chicago and my dad took off to Minnesota to make more Warrior Wishes come true at the Monday night Vikings game.
Over the past 4 years we have made some incredible memories making Warrior Wishes come true at the Metrodome & TCF stadium in Minnesota.
My dad has made warrior wishes come true at all 32 NFL stadiums every year for the past 4 years in a row. However, this was the first time we ever made Warrior Wishes come true at the brand new U.S. Bank Stadium.
As you can imagine, this new billion dollar stadium is an incredible state of the art facility. Located in downtown Minneapolis, US Bank Stadium is a bold and iconic building. The structure is like no-other in the NFL. It features a fixed, slanted roof that is 60% transparent allowing natural light to filter inside giving it an outdoor feel. Featuring a black zinc facade, the majority of fans enter the stadium through the west side, known as the Medtronic Plaza, a three-acre gateway to the stadium that contains one of the most iconic features at US Bank Stadium, a 160 foot long legacy Vikings ship. Modeled after an ancient Viking’s ship, it features a 2,000 square foot curved LED videoboard that serves as the ships 55 foot tall sail. The plaza provides a great gathering spot for fans before and after games.
My dad arrived in Minneapolis at around noon and spent the first hour he was there capturing pictures of the outside of the gorgeous new stadium.
He also walked around the stadium to get familiar with the surrounding area and found the tailgate lot where they planned to hang out with the Warriors & the “VWO” (Viking World Order) before the game.
We were honored to be hosting Air Force Sgt Jeremy Walker, who was one of the Warriors we hosted in 2012, and his wife Stephanie who also served in the Air Force! Stephanie is still in the Guard today.
My dad met up with the Walkers for dinner before the game thanks to Chris and Steve at The Old Spaghetti Factory. They were excited to host the warriors!
My dad enjoyed catching up with Jeremy & getting to know Stephanie over dinner. They really enjoyed The ambiance & delicious food at the Spaghetti factory. The 2 Air Force warriors got to pick out their new Vikings caps before heading over to the stadium, thanks to our friends at New Era.
As they headed over to the stadium, Stephanie, told my dad that Jeremy still talks about the game we hosted him at back in 2012. It was a game that we will never forget either. In 2012, Jeremy was treated to field passes & one of the coaches tossed him a game ball to take home with him. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience!
Unfortunately, My dad informed him, and apologized, that this time won’t be like the first experience as we were unable to get field passes and ticket prices were extremely expensive due to the new stadium & the Vikings being undefeated. Nonetheless, my dad was still determined to show them a great time!
Before heading inside the new stadium, my dad introduced the Warriors to our friend “Diggs” from the VWO. The Viking World Order is one of the most amazing group of fans in the NFL! From face paint to costumes, the VWO goes all out! Jeremy & Stephanie had such a good time meeting everyone and just hanging out, that they were asking Diggs and other Superfans how they could join Viking World Order and tailgate every week going forward!
This is one of the things we like most about our program – it introduces and matches up local veterans with each other and with various contacts for team, restaurants , players etc so that they can do other things in future when we are not here. It’s all about working together to show each warrior that their service & sacrifices are appreciated! We like to think we are sometimes the conduit.
A half hour before game time my dad snapped a few pics in front of the stadium and explored the inside as much as they could before kickoff.
The Vikings remained undefeated as they gave Jeremy & Stephanie plenty to cheer about. They dominated the Giants and won the game by the score of 24-10.
After the game my dad thanked the Walkers one last time for their service & walked a few blocks to catch his overnight $1 Megabus back to Chicago & will meet his new grand daughter for the first time when he arrives home!
Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Chris and Steve at Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner, the VWO for providing an awesome tailgate experience and New Era Cap for the Vikings caps
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!
Last but certainly not least, we want to thank Air Force Warriors , Jeremy and Stephanie Walker for their service & dedication to our country!
My dad will be back in action on Thursday making Warrior Wishes come true in San Francisco! Stay Tuned for more details & photos of Baby Quinn!
MEET THE WARRIORS
AIR FORCE WARRIORS JEREMY & STEPHANIE WALKER
Jeremy Walker has served from 2002-2009 on Active Duty Air Force stationed at Fairchild AFB, WA. He deployed to Iraq in 2004 and Afghanistan in 2007 driving convoys. On his deployment to Afghanistan he received a purple heart for his injuries.
Contact Craig for more information about the mission (630) 339-6714