Posted on

Warrior Wishes Come True At The Astros Game!

After another unforgettable day making Warrior Wishes come true at Globe Life Stadium in Arlington, my dad headed south to host warriors at the Astros game!

IMG_2802

Thanks to our good friends at Globe Life, my dad actually got a good nights sleep in a hotel!  A little too good, because he almost missed his 10:45 bus ride…

He arrived in Houston at around 3pm and immediately made his way to Minute Maid Park to pick up tickets and set up dinner for the warriors.

IMG_2850

He had planned on having dinner at the Restaurant in Westin Hotel down the street, however, but both of the warriors could not get there til 5:00, for a 6:10 game.  So instead he set up a quick bite to eat at Home Plate Bar & Grill located directly across the street from ballpark.

Logo

Today we had the honor of hosting 2 Marines at the Astros game.  Sgt Luis Morales and LCpl Casey Buentello

Sgt Morales and LCpl Buentello actually knew each other and had attended other similar events, even though they were nominated separately.  My dad enjoyed getting to know them a little bit over a quick burger & some nachos, before walking across street to Minute Maid Park.

IMG_2832

Before heading inside, he presented each of them with brand new New Era Astros caps and they posed for a couple pictures in front of the stadium. 

IMG_2831

The warriors enjoyed watching Texans Defensive end, JJ Watt, throw out the first pitch & got to see a pitchers duel between the A’s & Astros.  All 3 runs scored in the game were solo home runs. Unfortunately the A’s hit 2 & the Astros only had 1…

IMG_2838 IMG_2837

Despite the loss, the guys had a great time.  We want to thank Home Plate Bar & Grill for providing a quick meal before the game & New Era Cap Company for providing the warriors with new Astros Caps!  

Logo New-Era-Logo-Black-ad-fed-mn_zps624528b0 hwl

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

My dad will be spending the night in Houston, before making his way back to the Astros game tomorrow to make more Warrior Wishes come true!  Stay tuned for more details!

Posted on

Warrior Wishes Come True Thanks To The Houston Astros!

My dad has been on the road since Tuesday.  In 4 days, he has made Warrior Wishes come true at 2 Kansas City Royals Games & 2 St. Louis Cardinals games. 

IMG_3005 IMG_3044

IMG_3011 IMG_3037

Once the Cardinals game had ended and the Warriors were on their way back home, my dad did his best to stay up all night to catch his 2 am $10 bus to Dallas.  I called him at 1:30 to make sure he was awake.

IMG_3058

My dad said he doesn’t remember much of the bus ride as he slept for 12 of the 15 hours.  Thankfully the bus was on time, as he had less than an hour to spare to catch his connecting bus ride for $5 to Houston.  

IMG_3059

He arrived in Houston around 10:30pm and had spent more than 20 hours on the bus!  I offered to get my dad a hotel, but he said he had been sleeping all day. He declined my offer & found a gym to get a good workout in and clean up.

He text me this morning and said this is where I slept 

IMG_3097

He was obviously joking, but it wouldn’t have surprised me.  My dad made his way down to Minute Maid park first thing in the morning to meet up with Army SFC Omar Hernandez, Army SPC Jonathan Molina and their families to host them at the Astros game.  

IMG_3098

Both SFC Hernandez & SPC Molina have been guests of ours before at Texans games, but it’s always great to keep in touch and continue to remind them that their service and sacrifices have not gone unnoticed.  Plus today we also had the opportunity to host their families as well and the Astros had kids day where kids got to run the bases after the game!  

Before the game we had lunch courtesy of Home Plate Bar & Grill located directly across the street from the main entrance of Minute Maid park.  It the premier spot to meet up for delicious food and drinks before and after Astros games!

IMG_3077

With full stomachs my dad let everyone choose a new New Era Astros Cap & everyone made their way across the street into the park.  The Houston Astros provided awesome seats for the Warriors & their families.  

IMG_3076

The Warriors must have brought the Astros good luck as they went on to beat the division leading Seattle Mariners.  

After the win, the kids made their way down to the field to take a trip around the bases. It was a perfect way to end the day.  

We would like to thank the Houston Astros for providing tickets, New Era for providing Astros Caps & Home Plate Bar & Grill for hosting us for a delicious pre game meal. 

Logo New-Era-Logo-Black-ad-fed-mn_zps624528b0

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!  

My dad is getting treated to a 4 star hotel tonight thanks to the Priceline “Name your own price” tool.  I offered $65 for the room and the deal was accepted!  It was cheaper than naming my own price for a 2 star hotel & couldn’t pass it up.  

He will be back on the bus at 7am to make his way back to Dallas where he will be making Warrior Wishes come true in a “suite” way at the Rangers game thanks to our friends at Globe Life Insurance!

Check back soon for more details.

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

MEET THE WARRIORS

ARMY SPC JONATHAN MOLINA

74508_140671999316855_5574285_n

Molina was injured on December 20, 2007 in Iraq. His injury took place while in route to their FOB. He was the driver of a humvee that hit a pressure plated IED. Our friend & 49ers Warrior (2012), Wesley Leon-Barrientos, was in the vehicle with Jonathan when the IED Exploded. Wes was left a double amputee while Jonathan sustained multiple fractures to his spine and hip area, a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury and developed PTSD shortly after.

Physically, Molina has healed well and has learned to tune out the chronic pain left by his injuries. Each day is a different day when dealing with the PTSD. He is grateful for everyday & so thankful to have made it this far.

ARMY SGT 1st CLASS OMAR HERNANDEZ

4265607079_8eacb498f1_o

Army SGT 1st class Omar Hernandez received his first call to battle in 2003 as a combat engineer in Iraq. On June 6th, 2007 during his 3rd deployment, while on patrol, Hernandez and his comrades were ambushed. Before he could return fire, Hernandez was hit by a bullet that went through his leg. Ignoring the pain in his leg, Hernandez carried 2 other wounded soldiers to safety under heavy fire. For his actions, he was awarded the Silver Star.

“I couldn’t let anyone die out there, exposed like that,” Hernandez said. “They were under my command. I didn’t want anybody under my command to die.”

After recovering from his gunshot wound, he was deployed Afghanistan. On this deployment, Hernandez was removing a fellow soldier from harm when he fell into a well, and broke both of his legs. For his efforts, Hernandez received the Army Commendation Medal (ARCOM) with the V Device, signifying his actions of valor in the battlefield.

After all that he has endured, Hernandez says that he would do it all over again. “Even knowing how it feels to be shot.  He Said “I’m just glad that I was able to serve and do my duty to earn my freedom.”

Posted on Leave a comment

A Salute To All Soldiers & Their Families

After making Warrior Wishes come true and hosting a hero thanks to the Astros, my dad was able to make a surprise stop back home in Chicago thanks to our friends in Houston, who donated some of their miles to make the trip possible.  My dad had been on the road since the beginning of April and has proudly honored more than 100 soldiers at 34 professional sporting events since he began our “Battlefields to Ballfields” mission on April 2nd. .

Thanks to the Houston Astros, Warrior Wishes still came true at the game last night despite my dad’s absence.  The Astros helped us honor Sgt Edwin Henderson, Army 1SGT Ian Hill & the legacy of Lt. Col David Cabrera at the game.

Xander’s reaction to my dad walking in the front door after missing him for almost a month was priceless & brought us all to tears.  It was a special moment between this grandpa & grandson.

It was awesome having my dad back home, but it was short lived…  My Dad was on a mission, & as much as he wanted to stay and hang out with us, he had already promised to make Warrior Wishes come true in St. Louis & didn’t want to let the soldiers down.  By 10am this morning he was back on the bus heading to the gateway city to make Warrior Wishes come true at the Cardinals game.

Not having my dad around has helped to give me a much bigger appreciation for military families.

Our friend, Army Captain Pablo Enriquez, once told me that “a soldier does not fight because he hates what’s in front of him. He fights because he loves what he leaves behind.”

When soldiers deploy, they leave behind friends & family members who love and care for them dearly. Family and friends who stand behind & support them who are grateful for their loved ones service & sacrifices. But the soldiers are not the only one making sacrifices.

I think everyone is quick to show appreciation to the soldiers, but sometimes forget that even though the families left behind don’t wear a uniform, they are still making sacrifices every day!

My dad has been on the road for a month honoring heroes on our “Battlefields to the Ballfields”mission.   I can’t help but finding myself with this bigger appreciation for soldiers’ family members & loved ones.  Because we miss him a lot & it’s only been a month!

My dad is one of my heroes, he has dedicated his life to bring joy and happiness to the brave men & women of our country who give us our freedom.  The ones who are willing to sacrifice time away from their families so that we can spend time with ours.

I’ll never forget the life lesson I learned from James, a warrior we hosted in Kansas City.  James taught me a lesson on perspective, you see James had been severely burned all over his body defending our country.  But James is happy to be alive.  In fact he now calls himself “Extra Crispy” & says “he’s not quite original recipie anymore.”  He told me to always focus on the positive & to always keep things in perspective.

Having said that, I’m doing my best to keep this in perspective.  Even though We miss my dad’s presence, his help, and making fun of him for being technologically challenged, he has only been gone for a month and he is out there honoring the soldiers who spend 6 months to a year at a time away from their families & are willing to risk their lives to protect our freedoms, his sacrifice away from us seems like a small price to pay compared to theirs.

I can’t imagine hugging a loved one goodbye and watching them board a plane, knowing that they are going to war, and not knowing when & if they will be coming home.

It’s broke my heart watching my dad say goodbye to Xander.  It was amazing to see Xander’s reaction yesterday when my dad had the opportunity to come home and surprise him.  Even though he was only home for a few hours, it was time well spent.  A few hours is better than no hours.   I’ll admit, it was tough to say goodbye to my dad again.  I worry about him because he typically won’t spend money on hotels because he would rather use that money to honor heroes.  He ends up sleeping in bus stations and airports.  But to keep things in persepective, a bus station or airport would be a luxurious place to stay compared to some of the places our troops have to sleep.  I know where my dad will be, when he will be home, & barring another freak bus crash, I know my dad will be safe.  So I truly have nothing to complain about.

How can I be sad?   I’m proud of my dad for being so dedicated. he is out making a difference & showing his appreciation to the brave soldiers who have sacrificed so much more.  He is promoting positivity in the world.  To be honest,  I wish I could be out on the road with him so I too could personally thank each soldier for their service & sacrifices.

Before I sign off, I want to take a minute to thank and recognize all the unsung heroes, all of the soldiers families who provide the love & support to their loved ones, and are willing to sacrifice time with your loved ones so they can protect our country.  THANK YOU!

Behind every strong soldier, there is an even stronger family standing behind them, who supports & loves them with all their hearts.

I know my dad’s mission is nothing compared to a deployment, but while he is on the road honoring the real heroes of our country, we will be standing behind him, cheering him on and supporting him until he comes home.

We encourage you to follow our mission as we continue to host warriors & gold star families from the Battlefields to the Ballfields“.  Our mission began on April 2nd in Chicago and has made stops in Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, New York, Boston, Washington DC, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Tampa, Miami, Atlanta, Arlington & Houston.  Today he will be honoring heroes in St. Louis and he will be making stops in Kansas City, Denver, Arizona, Los Angeles, San Diego, Oakland, San Francisco & Minnesota before wrapping up the mission on Memorial Day in Chicago.  

Thank you for following our mission!

Posted on

The Houston Astros Honor a Hero & Make Warrior Wishes Come True!

We had a “Suite” time at the Rangers Game Making Warrior Wishes come true thanks to Globe Life Insurance & the Texas Rangers.  After the game, my dad made his way over to the Omni hotel nearby and spent the entire night working on planning details for the next few weeks of ourBattlefields To Ballfields Mission.

At 4am he boarded a Greyhound bus to Houston to meet up with SSG Shilo Harris.  My dad told me this morning that Shilo is “one of the most amazing and inspirational warriors” he has ever met.

As the son of a Vietnam veteran, native Texan Shilo Harris knew he always wanted to be a soldier. After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, he enlisted as a Cavalry Scout in the United States Army. He was stationed in Germany with the First Infantry Division when he deployed to Iraq in February 2004.

On his second deployment in August 2006 with the 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum, NY, Harris worked near southern Baghdad on route clearance. On February 19, 2007 the vehicle he was riding in was struck by an IED, killing three of his crewmembers and leaving him with catastrophic injuries. He is missing his ears, the tip of his nose, three fingers, fractured his collar bone and the C-7 vertebrae, and suffered partial to full thickness burns over 35% of his body. He spent nearly three years in the burn unit of Brooke Army Medical Center.

 This is What was left of Shilo’s vehicle after the blast.

SSG Harris Retired from the military in 2010, today he is a motivational speaker and urges his audiences to welcome veterans and warriors home. The Harris family resides in south Texas and was awarded a new home, which was featured on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on December 11, 2012.

Visit Shilo’s website (www.ShiloHarris.com) and see video of Shilo’s full story here

Buy Shilo’s Book “Steel Will” Here

It has been a true honor to host Shilo today at the Astros game!  We would like to thank shilo for his service, sacrifices & for never giving up!

We would like to thank the Houston Astros for helping us honor this Inspirational Warrior at the game today.  Shilo got a standing ovation from Astros fans when he was honored for his service and sacrifices at Minute Maid Park in the 4th inning.  We would also like to thank New Era Caps for providing Astro’s caps to Shilo & his family.

My Dad will be staying the night with friends in Houston and plans to honor warriors again tomorrow at Minute Maid Park thanks to the Astros, before making his way back to the midwest to host heroes at the Cardinals game.

Operation Warrior Wishes has proudly honored warriors at 34 games in the past 32 days on our#BattlefieldsToBallfields mission.