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Game 50 – Warrior Wishes Come True at the Colts Game!

We kicked off week 13 of our mission on Thanksgiving day in Detroit.

My dad took a train back home after the Lions game to enjoy some Thanksgiving leftovers and the local Electric Light Parade with the grandkids before heading off to our next mission.

Fellow Director, Bill Heaton and my dad hit the road at 5:30 am Sunday morning and made their way to Indianapolis to make some wishes come true at the Colts game.

Throughout the years we have made some unforgettable memories making wishes come true in Indy. Here are some of our favorites.

Today we had the honor of hosting Army SGT Ryan Phillips and Army SPC Alison Trueblood.

SGT Philips joined the US Army at 17 yrs old. The first 10 years as an infantry soldier and the last 13 years as an engineer. Ryan served overseas in Saudi Arabia and Iraq. He was then medically retired after 23 years of service. After retiring, he received a bachelors in business management and now owns his own custom woodworking business. Ryan is married to Melissa and they have two children, Chloe and Caden. He loves spending time with family and his dog Berlynn.

SPC Trueblood served in the Army from March 2007 until June 2011 as a Financial Managament Technician. She was stationed at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Camp Casey, South Korea, Fort Lewis, Washington, and served on one deployment to Afghanistan.

Bill and my dad met up with the warriors outside of Lucas Oil stadium.

And made their way to the exclusive VIP Bullseye Tailgate! Our friends at Bullseye have been helping us make Warrior wishes come true for the past few years. They have hosted warriors at their NFL Players tailgate at the Super Bowl and every Colts game! We’re thankful for their support!

The group enjoyed great food and good company before heading inside to watch the Colts and Titans battle to keep their playoff hopes alive.

An early turnover led to a Colts touchdown to give them a 7-0 lead. The Titans answered with a touchdown of their own and the Colts kicked a field goal to take a 10-7 lead into the half.

They added another touchdown early in the third quarter, but the Titans took over from there…  Derrick Henry and the Titans went on to score 24 unanswered points and beat the Colts 31-17.

Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Allison and Ryan for their service and sacrifices.

On top of making these Warrior Wishes come true at today’s Colts game, we also had the honor of hosting Warriors at the Steelers, Jaguars & Chiefs games today!

My dad will be back in action next week at the Thursday night Bears game. Stay tuned!

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Game 22 – Warrior Wishes Come True At The Colts Game!


My dad spent a couple of extra of nights in Nashville after making Warrior Wishes come true at the Titans game, which was our 21st game of the season.  

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On Saturday night he took an overnight $1 megabus from Nashville to Indianapolis.  He arrived at 3am & was shocked to see the streets filled with Ghosts, Goblins, monsters and zombies.  He said it was like being in an episode of “The Walking Dead.”  He quickly realized that everyone was celebrating Halloween.  The partygoers kept my dad awake, the only problem is he could not get a seat at the 24 hour Steak & Shake he usually “sleeps at…”


As the sun began to rise, the crowds got smaller and my dad was able to get a seat to eat a little breakfast. Then he headed over to Crown Plaza hotel near the stadium to use their computer, and work on setting up next weeks games in Baltimore, Pittsburgh & at the Meadowlands for the New York Giants.

Over the past 4 years we have made a lot of memories making Warrior Wishes come true at Colts games!

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My dad eventually made his way over to the Old Spaghetti Factory at 11am where he met up with Army Spc Christopher Green, Marine Michael Mertz & their loved ones.  


SPC Green and his wife were the first to arrive.  Chris himself has nominated a couple of his battle buddies for a warrior wish in the past, Sgt Geiger who we hosted in Jacksonville and SSG Williams in Miami.  Since they were a few minutes early, it gave us the chance to get to know each other a little but before the other warrior arrived.  

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We surprised our second guest, Navy Corpsman and Marine Michael Mertz with  a little help from our friend.  Turns out our Board Member, and Marine, Manny Gonzalez Knows him.  So Manny, knowing Mertz was a huge Colts fan, invited the Mertz family to dinner and Fright Fest in Illinois, and  surprised them with the Warrior Wishes Colts experience!  

Mike and his wife arrived about 20 minutes after SPC Green and were still talking about the surprise – his wife Lisa did a great job of setting it up, while keeping surprise intact.  Manny, our Board Member, did great job of “delivering” the surprise. We spent the next hour enjoying a delicious lunch thanks to The Old Spaghetti Factory & got to know all 4 of our new friends.  Before heading over to the stadium for the game, my dad snapped a few photos, gave them their New Era Caps and then escorted them 3 blocks over to the stadium.


Before making their way inside, they walked around in “Touchdown Town”- a plaza full of Colts related games and activities.  


The Colts were hosting the Chiefs today.  When he saw that he came to the realization that this was his 3rd straight Chiefs game!  Two weeks ago he saw them kickoff agains the Raiders in Oakland, last week he made Warrior Wishes come true in KC & today they are the Colts opponent. 


He must be their good luck charm because he has seen them win every game… unfortunately for the Warriors, the Chiefs dominated the Colts and won 30-14. 


After the game, my dad walked everyone back to their cars, said goodbyes and hopped on the 7:15pm $1 megabus to get home by Midnight.


Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Josh & Rebecca at Old Spaghetti Factory for the Pre Game Meal, New Era Cap for providing the Colts Caps & Chive Charities for the KCCO T-Shirts, as well as their continued support of our Warrior Wishes mission.  

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Most importantly we want to take a minute to recognize Army SPC Chris Green and Navy Corpsman Michael Mertz for their service to our country, and their wives for their unwavering support of their heroes.  It’s appreciated, has not gone unnoticed & will never be forgotten!

My dad has been on the road since Wednesday & definitely looking forward to coming home to catch up with the family & get some rest. Thankfully he has an easy day tomorrow as he will be home making Warrior Wishes come true at Soldier Field.  Stay tuned for more details.




Michael entered the Navy in 1991, serving 20 years as a Hospital Corpsman. In those 20 years he served half his time with the Marines as their “Doc”. He served in two wars, Afghanistan in 2001-2002 and Iraq in 2003-2004. He also traveled with his Marines to places such as Thailand and Japan. He finished his final years of service at Great Lakes Naval Academy as in instructor in North Chicago, IL. He is a beloved husband, father, son and friend; a man with much character and is always willing to help others before himself. He misses his Marines more than anything since retiring, but now he can help serve other veterans with his new job with the VA at Ft. Benjamin Harrison. After 25 years being away, Michael has finally “come home” after buying his first home in Greenwood, IN. He has a deep love of Star Wars, Yoda being his favorite character of all. He loves to game online and watch movies in his newly furnished Star Wars man-cave.

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

2016 ALL32IN17 Schedule

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