My dad is back home in Chicago wrapping up another crazy week filled with warrior wishes coming true! While I was in Cleveland hosting a WWII Marine at the World series, He kicked off Week 8 of the NFL season hosting heroes in Nashville, then made his way to Indianapolis for the Sunday game. I picked him up from the bus station last night so he could get a good night sleep before making Warrior Wishes come true in Chicago.
My dad was up early Monday morning to meet up with Marine CPL Matthew Wilkes & his wife at the Courtyard Marriott in St Charles. We would like to thank the Courtyard Marriott for donating 2 nights for them as they came all the way from Washington DC to be our guests in Chicago! Having said that, my dad wanted to give them the full Chicago experience before making their way to soldier field to meet up with the other warriors. So he picked them up from the hotel & drove them to my work so I could take everyone to the train on my lunch hour.
My dad was their tour guide for the day. He made stops at Portillo’s, Wrigley Field & the “Sears Tower” where everyone faced their fears walking out on the glass ledge 106 floors above the city. They had planned to get some deep dish pizza too, but ran out of time…
My dad got a quick nap in too…
We have made more warrior wishes come true at Bears games than any other NFL team. Mainly because we live in Chicago. Here are some of our favorite memories!
I think we all remember Brett Favres incredible “Halloween Game” in the pouring rain against the Bears in 1994. Although clearly not as big a tradition as the Thanksgiving day games, Halloween does have its place in history with some memorable games. Will tonight be one of those games?
While I was out trick or treating with Xander, my dad arrived at Soldier Field with the Wilkes and met up with Army Sgt Eugene Blackmon, Sgt Tyler Juckett, Army Sgt Ozzie Palizo & Marine Cpl Ryan O’Hara.
Marine Cpl Mathew Wilkes was nominated by his wife. Last night My dad called Cpl Wilkes from a “radio station” with a chance to “win” tickets to the Bears game. Little did he know, it was a set up. He correctly answered the questions and we surprised him with a once in a lifetime Chicago Bears experience at the Monday night game!
The other Warriors were all local veterans and wounded warriors, nominated by previous recipients. Thanks to a generous donation of 4 club level tickets by one of our Board Members, Mark Toppel, for the opportunity to host these heroes!
The Chicago Bears provided 2 Field Passes for a few of the Warriors. Cpl Wilkes & his wife were the only ones who made it in time to use them.
Our friends at ESPN made sure they got to take a picture on the Monday Night Football set and with Steve Young & Trent Dilfer.
SGT Blackmon was next to arrive and My dad saved him spot to be on TV next to the kid holding the “CMon Man” Sign. However he just missed the live shot so he ended up on national TV by himself. Xander enjoyed seeing G-Pa on TV.
Marine Ryan O’Hara and his girlfriend sat in the club level with Marine Cpl Wilkes and his wife. Sgt Juckett, Sgt Blackmon and Sgt Palizo sat down in the 100 level with my dad.
The Bears were big underdogs coming into the game. Jay Cutler was back in the lineup & The Bears needed a win to try to save their season against the First Place Vikings who just lost their first game last week. Thankfully for the Warriors & all bears fans, Jay Cutler turned in a brilliant performance & led the Bears to a surprising 20-10 victory!
After the game, we said our goodbyes to some of the Warriors & my dad escorted CPL Wilkes and his wife on the train to get them back to their hotel in St Charles.
Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Laura at the Courtyard Marriott in St Charles for donating 2 Nights for the Wilkes, Toppel Plumbing for donating 4 club level tickets to the game, Chive Charities for providing the KCCO shirts, New Era for providing Bears caps to the Warriors & the Chicago Bears for providing Field Passes, a win and an unforgettable experience!
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!
But finally and most importantly, , THANK YOU to Marine Cpl Matthew Wilkes, Marine Cpl Ryan O’Hara, Army Sgt Lorenzo Amaro, Army Sgt Tyler Juckett, Army Sgt Eugene Blackmon & Army Sgt Ozzie Palizo for your service & sacrifices to our great country! It’s appreciated, has not gone unnoticed & will never be forgotten!
My dad will enjoy a well deserved “day off” tomorrow to catch up on some sleep & hang out with his Grandkids before heading back on the road to Tampa (Thursday), Miami (Sunday) and Seattle (Monday). Stay tuned for more details!
MEET THE WARRIORS
MARINE CPL MATTHEW WILKES
Don’t forget to nominate your hero for an upcoming game on our 2016 “All32in17” Mission!
Contact Craig for more information about the mission (630) 339-6714