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Game 33 – Warrior Wishes Come True At Heinz Field Again!

While I was out trick or treating in the snow with the family…

My dad was enjoying the beautiful weather in Arizona as he kicked off week 9 of our mission at the Cardinals game, our 32nd NFL game this season!

My dad returned from 90 degree temps in Phoenix to snow back home in Chicago.

On Friday, while my dad caught up on some sleep, Xander and I attended a Cub Scouts meeting where we wrote letters to the troops, learned about the American flag and even made some pretty cool dog tags! The whole Cub Scout troop also collected leftover Halloween candy to send to deployed soldiers!

I dropped my dad off at the bus station on Saturday after work and he made his way to the airport to catch his evening flight to Pittsburgh.

If you have been keeping up with us, which can be hard to do… you probably are wondering why we chose to have 3 Steelers games on our schedule. The answer is easy. The Steelers are one of the most popular teams in the NFL and we get a lot of nominations to see them. Here are some of the 2019 memories we have made in Pittsburgh this season.

My dad arrived in the “Steel City” after 11pm. So instead of booking a hotel, he found a cozy couch at the airport and curled up for the night.

First thing Sunday morning he made his way downtown to meet up with the warriors for our pregame meal, courtesy of Bugatory.

Burgatory is a friendly little joint that makes one Helluva burgers and heavenly shakes. So, whether you’re digging into one of their custom burgers or slurping one of theur ridiculously thick shakes, they are going to bring you a dining experience that’s pretty close to heaven. Burg story is located down the street from Heinz field and even has a location in the stadium! It’s a great place to grab a bite to eat before, during and after Steelers games!

Today we had the honor of hosting Marine Cpl Gary Meyers, Navy veteran, Dayna Myers and Army Spc Robert Hollowood at the Steelers game.

Cpl. Gary Myers served in the United States Marine Corp from 2002-2010. He deployed in 2004 during Operation Enduring Freedom And again in 2005 during Operation Iraqi Freedom. It was an honor to show him our appreciation for his service at this game!

Gary originally had planned to bring his uncle, retired USAF MSgt Ron Bunger as his guest. Ron served 24 years! But unfortunately he injured his knee at the last minute and was unable to make it. So Gary’s mom, Dayna, stepped in and took his place. Dayna also proudly served our country in the Navy for 20 years!

Robert Hollowood served in the US Army. He was stationed in Schweinfurt, Germany as a cannon crew member. And deployed to Iraq in 2006 where he served as infantry (11b) on a15 month deployment during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Robert’s a big Pittsburgh sports fan and it’s an honor to make this warrior’s wish come true!

The group enjoyed getting to know each other over lunch before the game.

Eventually they made their way over to Heinz field to watch the Indianapolis Colts and the Pittsburgh Steelers kick things off.

Heinz field is an awesome stadium. We took a tour of the stadium a few years ago. My favorite characteristic of the stadium is the Great Hall. It’s filled with Steelers memorabilia and history, including their Lombardi trophies! They also have a wall of Terrible Towels, a staple of every Steelers fan.

The warriors enjoyed the game from their front row seats in the upper deck, which provided a great view of an exciting game!  The game was close the entire time. Neither team ever took a 2 score lead throughout the game. The Colts has a big opportunity early on, but a 96 yard interception returned for a touchdown saved the day for the Steelers.

With the Steelers up 26-24 and just over a minute left in the game, Colts Kicker, Adam Vinatieri Dan our onto the field to attempt a 43 yard field goal to take the lead. But he missed wide left and the warriors celebrated a Steelers win!  In the words of Tiffany Hollowood, Robert’s wife, “They had a blast!”

Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Marine Cpl Gary Meyers, Navy veteran Dayna Myers and Army Spc Robert Hollowood for their selfless service and sacrifices!

After the game my dad made his way over to the bus station to catch his overnight “hotel” to New York. We will be back in the city where our mission began making Warrior Wishes come true at the Monday night Giants game! Stay tuned..

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Game 28 – Warrior Wishes Come True In Pittsburgh!

Thanks to finding a $36 flight from Baltimore to Chicago, my dad was able to come back home for a day before flying out to Pittsburgh Saturday night to make Warrior Wishes come true at his 28th NFL game this season!!!  

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My dad Flew out to Pittsburgh late Saturday evening and spent the night at the Pittsburgh airport.

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Pittsburgh is also called the “Steel City,” due to its rich history as a center of the steel industry. Steel production formed the basis of the city’s growth and prosperity beginning in the 19th century and continuing into the 1970s. Steel mills were once the main employers of many Pittsburgh residents, and much of that legacy is still evident in the local culture.  

We have made some unforgettable memories making Warrior Wishes come true in Pittsburgh over the past 4 years.

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Traditionally, when we host warriors in Pittsburgh, it’s a total group effort to make their wishes come true and this year was no different. Our friend Mike from Mr G’z Slatherrring Sauce and George once again took the lead in setting up the tailgate.  

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This year we had a little extra help as Lou, Vinnie, Mario and the crew from San Francisco flew out to Pittsburgh to watch Lou’s Steelers at Heinz Field.  

4 years ago ESPN put our mission on the map with their powerful and emotional story of what we started!  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BRbUpJnaNIA

We vividly remember holding the umbrella trying to keep the horizontal “Pittsburgh  rain” off of Marine Brandon Rumbaugh’s dress blues!! Little did we know that 4 years later, we would still be on this mission to honor heroes & hosted over 2000 warriors since then!  It’s been an amazing & inspiring Journey!  

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Today, we are honored to be hosting Army Sgt Mike Toland and Army Sgt Derek Baumann, both local warriors from Pittsburgh area.  Former guest, Army Sgt Joshua Furlong joined us for some delicious Pot Roast Nachos (my dad’s favorite) at Atrias.  Before heading over to tailgate outside the stadium.

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Sgt Jonathan Stewart also met up with everyone at the tailgate.  He too was a guest of ours 2 years ago.  It was great to see both Josh & Jonathan again. 

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Mr. G’s tailgate food is always top notch, and especially his chocolate mouse with his famous Mr G’s slathering sauce!  This year, even more delicious, as he put it on top of cupcakes. 

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Everyone had fun tailgating with old friends and new ones for a couple hours before they headed into the stadium to watch the Cowboys take on the Steelers in one of the most anticipated matchups of the 2016 NFL season!  The game lived up to the hype & became an instant classic!  It was by far one of the best games of the year!  

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There were 9 lead changes throughout the game which was perfect for today’s warriors. Why? Because it gave both of the Warriors plenty to cheer about!  Sgt Mike Toland was decked out In his Cowboys jersey screaming every time his Cowboys took the lead, while Sgt Derek Baumann was sporting a black and gold Steelers jersey and cheering on the Steelers when the regained the lead. You can only imagine how much fun they had in seesaw game like this, the fans around them were split between the two teams as well making it even more fun!! 

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With 42 seconds left in the game, Ben Roethlisberger connected with Antonio Brown for a 15 yard TD to take a 1 point lead and sent the SGT Baumann & the Pittsburgh crowd into a frenzy!  It was an endless sea of Yellow terrible towels waiving in the air!  

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However, SGT Toland and his Cowboys had the last laugh as the Cowboys marched down the field & Ezekiel Elliot scored a TOUCHDOWN on a 32 yard run with only 9 seconds left in the game to secure the Cowboys victory 35-30. It was a game that they will never forget!  

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Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Atrias Restaurant for their continued support helping us make Warrior wishes come true by providing pregame meals for the Warriors before steelers & pirates games over the years.  We also would like to thank our friend Lou & his crew for their continued support as well!  New Era Cap provided caps for the Warriors, last but not least, thanks to Mike Glagnola of Mr G’z Slatherrring Sauce and George Maier for setting up & hosting everyone at the tailgate!

CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL THE PHOTOS FROM THE PITTSBURGH EXPERIENCE!

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we want to recognize  old friends Sgt Joshua Furlong and Jonathan Stewart, as well as our new friends, Sgt Mike Toland and Sgt Derek Baumann.  Your service and sacrifices are appreciated, they haven’t gone unnoticed & will never be forgotten!   THANK YOU!

My dad is heading New York/New Jersey on overnight bus to host both wounded veterans AND 9/11 First Responders at Tomorrow nights NY Giants game at the Meadowlands.  Stay tuned for more details!

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Don’t forget to nominate your hero for an upcoming game on our 2016 “All32in17” Mission!

2016 ALL32IN17 Schedule

Facebook “Operation Warrior Wishes”

Twitter “@WarriorWishes”

Instagram “@WarriorWishes

www.WarriorWishes.org

Contact Craig for more information about the mission (630) 339-6714