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Warrior Wishes Come True Thanks To The Blackhawks!

If you have been following our mission for a while, you know my Dad has slept in a lot of random places while on the road making Warrior Wishes come true.

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I told him that he should have just slept over at the United Center on Saturday night after the Bulls game and watch them convert the basketball court into the hockey rink as he had to be back there first thing Sunday morning to make Warrior Wishes come true at the Blackhawks game.  He liked the idea, but made the decision to come home to sleep in his bed before making his way back to the “Madhouse on Madison” at 6am Sunday.

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We had the honor of hosting Marine Corporal Jacob Wunder at his first ever Blackhawks game to thank him for his service & sacrifices.

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Jake served our country for 5 years in the Marines.  He was deployed twice to Afghanistan in his military career.  Jake’s wife nominated him for this experience.  She says “Jake is the hardest working man she knows.  He strives to help others loves his fellow veterans & his country.”  She also mentioned that he is a HUGE Blackhawks fan & had never been to a game.

If you have ever had the opportunity to attend a Blackhawks game in person, you know what an amazing experience it is.  There is an energy inside the stadium unlike any other sports arena in the country.  From the most Patriotic National Anthem presentation in the country (that will give you goosebumps) to the final horn, the Blackhawk experience is incredible!  We were excited to have the opportunity to thank Jake for his service by providing this experience to him for the first time.

Before the game, My dad met up with Jake & his wife at the World Famous Billy Goat Tavern.  Needless to say he was pumped up for the game!

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With full stomachs they walked a few blocks to the United Center where my dad snapped a few pics with Jake & his wife in their new New Era Blackhawks caps outside the stadium before they made their way in to watch the Hawks face off against the Bruins.

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The Hawks gave Cpl Wunder plenty to cheer about as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead.  Patrick Kane had a hat trick before the end of the 2nd period!  Chelsea Dagger was on repeat… (if you’re a hawks fan you will understand)  The Bruins shut down the Hawks from there on and scored 4 goals of their own but it was too little too late and the Hawks won the game 6-4.  Needless to say Jake had a great time at his first ever hawks game & his experience isn’t over yet!  The Blackhawks invite Cpl Wunder to their morning skate on Tuesday!

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Corporal Wunder had an unforgettable time at the Blackhawks morning skate as he had the opportunity to watch the team practice from the Front Row!!!  It was incredible how fast and skilled these guys are on skates!

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After practice many of the Hawks players stopped by to sign autographs and show their appreciation for Jake’s service & sacrifices.  Including team captain Jonathan Toews!

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The smile on his face said it all, he had a great time & we can thank the Blackhawks  enough for giving us the opportunity to host him at the practice.  It was a once in a lifetime experience that he will never forget!

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We would like to thank the Billy Goat Tavern for providing a delicious meal before the game for the 2nd straight day, New Era Caps for the awesome Blackhawks Caps & The Chicago Blackhawks for an unforgettable experience at the Morning skate Tuesday morning!

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

After my dad got Jake & his wife inside the stadium, he made his way back home & I put him to work to help me clear out some bushes & trees around my deck.

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He will be on the road for the rest of the week making stops in St Louis, Memphis, Dallas, New Orleans & Atlanta to make Warrior Wishes come true!  Make sure to follow the mission all year long!

Facebook “Operation Warrior Wishes”

Twitter “@WarriorWishes”

Instagram “@WarriorWishes

www.WarriorWishes.org

Dont forget to nominate your hero for an upcoming game on our Battlefields to Ballfields mission!

Click here for more information.

2016 BATTLEFIELDS TO BALLFIELDS SCHEDULE

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Honoring the Legacy of a Fallen Hero at “Da Bulls” Game!

After making Warrior Wishes come true in Milwaukee thanks to the Bucks, my dad rested up overnight at the bus station before catching a 7am bus back to Chicago and hopped on a train back home to pick up Bulls tickets and Bulls hats for tonight’s game.

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He got to spend a couple of hours home with Xander before jumping back on the train to Chicago around 4pm to meet up with the Gobly’s, a Gold Star family.

ARMY SGT CHRISTOPHER GOLBY

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Christopher Golby joined the Army shortly after he graduated hish school in 1995. On January 8th, 2004, while serving as a helicopter crew chief, Golby & 8 other soldiers made the ultimate sacrifice when their Blackhawk medical evacuation helicopter was shot down in Iraq.  

Golby planned to be a pilot after he left the military.  Ronald Golby, Chris’ father said “Chris loved his job.  He loved to fly.  I’m proud of him.”

It was an honor to host SGT Golby’s wife & kids at the Chicago Bulls game in honor of his Legacy.  My dad met up with the family at the world famous “Billy Goat Tavern.”

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The original Billy Goat Tavern was “born” in 1934 when Greek immigrant, William “Billy Goat” Sianis, purchased the Lincoln Tavern. Billy Goat bought the tavern for $205, with a check that bounced but was later repaid with sales from the first weekend. The tavern was located across from the Chicago Stadium (now United Center) and attracted mainly sports fans. Sianis became known as “Billy Goat,” when a goat fell off a passing truck and wandered inside. Sianis adopted the goat, grew a goatee, acquired the nickname “Billy Goat,” and changed the name of the bar to the Billy Goat Tavern.  in 1978 SNL immortalized the Billy Goat Tavern when Bill Murray, John Belushi & Dan Akroyd starred in a skit based on an experience at the tavern.  Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger, No fries-CHEEPS, No Pepsi-COKE!

It was a fun place to meet up and get to know each other before heading over to the United Center to watch the Bulls take on the Pistons.  On their way inside they had to make a stop and take a picture at the famous Michael Jordan statue with their new New Era Bulls Caps!

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Jimmy Butler earned his first career triple double, but unfortunately it wasnt enough to get past the Pistons & the Bulls lost 94-90.  Despite the loss, everyone had a great time honoring the legacy of Army SGT Christopher Golby.

We would like to thank the Billy Goat Tavern for providing pregame Cheezborgers, Cheeps & Pepsi, Chicago Bulls for providing goody bags for the family, and New Era for outfitting the Golby Family with new Bulls caps!

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

I told my dad that he should have slept over at the stadium and watched the United Center transform from a basketball stadium to a hockey arena as he will be back in action first thing in the morning to make Warrior Wishes come true at the Blackhawks game!  Stay tuned for more details.

Dont forget to nominate your hero for an upcoming game on our Battlefields to Ballfields mission!

Click here for more information.

2016 BATTLEFIELDS TO BALLFIELDS SCHEDULE

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Warriors Celebrate a Playoff Clinching Win With The Blackhawks!

Our Battlefields to Ballfields mission has officially begun!  Operation Warrior Wishes will be on the road making warrior wishes come true at 54 games in 53 days!

GAME 1 – CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS – We started our mission in Chicago and were proud to be host Retired Marine Manny Gonzalez, Army Warrior Andrew Nemeth & to be honoring the legacy of SSG Jacob Frazier by hosting his Dad Jim Frazier at the Chicago Blackhawks game!

We met up with the warriors at the Billy Goat Tavern a few blocks away from the stadium.  Everyone enjoyed their World-Famous Billy Goat “Cheezborger, Cheezborger, Cheezborger. No Pepsi, Coke. No Fries, Cheeps.” and got to know each other.

After dinner, we presented Jim Frazier, Gold Star Father of SSG Jacob Frazier, with a custom piece of artwork made by “Honor America’s Valor” in honor of his son’s legacy.

As the warriors were snapping pictures outside the stadium before the game, they got lucky and ran into the Blackhawks National Anthem singer, Jim Cornelison!

The Blackhawks clinched a playoff spot with their win over the Canucks.  Jim, Manny & Andrew celebrated their win in the locker room with the players thanks to the Chicago Blackhawks!  It was a day full of once in a lifetime memories & warrior wishes coming true!

Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank The Billy Goat Tavern for providing the pregame meal, Honor America’s Valor for providing the artwork to honor SSG Frazier’s Legacy & theChicago Blackhawks for helping us provide these heroes with a once in a lifetime Blackhawks experience & make these Warrior Wishes come true!

View All the pictures from this event here!

Learn more about the Warriors and about their service and sacrifices below.

US MARINE MANNY GONZALEZ

At the young age of 20, Manny Gonzalez suffered 2nd & 3rd degree burns on over 80 percent of his body.  On July 18, 1996, Manny was participating in a field training exercise.  Three “Tear Gas” grenades were tossed amongst the Marines to simulate a Chemical Attack.  Two separate fires ensued.   After failed attempts to put out the fire he was nearest to and not realizing that a second fire had also started, Manny and other Marines began to evacuate the immediate area.

Before Manny could make it to a safe area, he noticed a Marine against the base of the hill, overcome by the tear gas, laying on the ground.  Following the traditions of the Marine Corps of “Never leaving a Marine behind”, Manny dropped all his gear and he ran to the Marine’s side to help.  During this time, the fires merged into one and created a ring around the hill, separating him and the other Marine from the entire unit.  After multiple unsuccessful attempts were made to climb the hill to escape the flames, the fire engulfed Manny and the other Marine.

Both marines were able to make it through the intense flames, but not unscathed.  The Marine Manny went back to save suffered approximately fifty percent burns, while Manny suffered approximately eighty percent 2nd and 3rd degree burns over his body.

He was immediately airlifted to UCSD Burn Unit, where he was placed into a drug-induced coma for approximately 1 1/2 months.  At one point his doctor gave him a 1% chance of surviving due to severe complications a week after his injuries.

Manny has overcome the odds & made a full recovery from his burns. 3 months after the accident he was released to return home to Chicago, He was medically retired from the Marine Corps in 1998.

AIR FORCE SSG JACOB FRAZIER

Jacob enlisted in the Illinois Air National Guard in 1997, and was determined to excel in the military. He attained the rank of staff sergeant in the Air Force, attached to special forces, a job that required his skills in coordinating close air support operations with precision.

On March 29th, 2003 Jake gave the ultimate sacrifice serving our country in Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  He was the only Air Force member on a U.S. Special Forces team that was ambushed north of the town of Gereshk in the Helmund Province in Afghanistan.

To this day, SSG Frazier is greatly missed, he will forever be respected for his ultimate sacrifice for the nation he loved and defended with honor.

Operation Warrior Wishes is proud to host Jacob’s dad in his honor & share his legacy tonight at the Chicago Blackhawks game!

ARMY ANDREW NEMETH

We are also excited to be hosting Army Warrior Andrew Nemeth.  Andrew has proudly served our country since 2008 and is an avid Blackhawks fan!  We surprised Andrew and let him know we would be making his Warrior Wish come true!

Learn more about the mission and see the full schedule here, nominate your hero and get involved here.