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Game 42 – The Jaguars Make Warrior Wishes Come True!

It’s been a crazy few weeks for my dad.  Last week he made Wishes come true in Dallas on Thursday, bussed to Houston Friday, Bussed to New Orleans Saturday, made Wishes come true at the Saints game Sunday, found out he missed his flight due to a schedule change so called an audible and flew to Chicago Sunday night to catch a bus to Cincy where he made Wishes come true at the Bengals game Monday & finally got a couple days of rest Tuesday & Wednesday.

Then he kicked this week off on Thursday in Atlanta making Wishes come true at the Falcons game, bussed to DC on Friday, bussed to Philly Saturday & hosted a huge group of warriors in the snow at the Army Navy game.  Immediately following the Wild game he was on a flight to Charlotte to catch a connecting flight to Jacksonville where he is hosted warriors at the Jaguars game.

My dad arrived in Jacksonville at around midnight.   He rested up & got a few hours of sleep at the airport before meeting up with our friend, Erick Millette.  Erick was one of the first guests of our original mission in 2012.  My dad really enjoyed catching up with Erick over breakfast before heading to the stadium.

Today we were honored to be hosting Army SGT Erick Millette, Army SGT Jeff Taylor & Navy Veteran Isaac Malone at the Jaguars game.

Over the years we have made some unforgettable memories making Warrior Wishes come true in Jacksonville.  Here are some of our favorite moments!

As usual, my dad met up with all of the warriors just outside the stadium in front of the giant Jaguar.  Erick’s friend, Navy Chief Lou Dougherty also joined our group & enhanced everyone’s experience by setting up a little tailgate with Burgers, Brats & Beers.

After introductions a few photos and a great little tailgate, everyone made their way to the stadium for a special surprise.   As always, the Jaguars went above & beyond to make wishes come true.  Today they invited the warriors to help hold the giant American flag on the field for the national anthem!

This was a once in a lifetime experience that the warriors were really excited about everyone had to be inside the stadium early to practice with the flag.  Isaac’s wife and Jeff’s 23 year old son also got to hold flag.

After they were done practicing, my dad and the rest of Isaacs family made their way into the stadium to watch the warriors take the field with the flag for the National Anthem. This was pretty exciting for all, especially the kids watching their dad hold the flag on the field!

The warriors eventually made their way to their seats to watch the Seahawks & Jaguars kick off in a very important game for both teams who were fighting to make the playoffs.  The game started out slow and looked as if it was going to be a defensive battle.  The Jaguars took a 3-0 lead into the half.

The second half was much more entertaining.  The Jags scored 3 touchdowns in the 3rd quarter!  They added a 4th TD early in the 4th quarter to take a 27-10 lead.  It looked as if the Jaguars were going to coast to an easy win.

But the seahawks were not about to give up.  Russell Wilson & his team battled back scoring 2 long touchdowns and in the blink of an eye, the Seahawks were back in the game!

Thankfully in he end, the Jaguars were able to hang on.  They beat the Seahawks by the score of 30-24 & sent the warriors home happy Another successful “Mission Accomplished!”

Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Dave and Chad at the Jaguars for donating tickets, Kyle and Mike at the Jaguars for providing the warriors with a once in a lifetime experience holding the flag on the field during the National Anthem presentation & we also want to thank Erick Millette & Lou Dougherty for providing nice tailgate before the game as well as New Era for providing Jaguars caps to the warriors!

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we want to thank Erick, Lou, Jeff & Isaac for their service and sacrifices to our country!

Immediately following the game, my dad made his way across town to the Greyhound station to catch an overnight bus to Miami.  He will be making Wishes come true at tomorrow’s Dolphins game!  Stay tuned for more details!

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Game 38 – The Jaguars Go Above & Beyond To Make Warrior Wishes Come True!

After making wishes come true at the Thursday night Vikings game in Minneapolis, my dad stopped at home for a few hours before heading south to Jacksonville.

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Operation Warrior Wishes does everything we can to save money on operating expenses, so that most of our donation dollars go directly to making the Warriors wishes come true.  98% of what we take in, benefits the brave men and women who protect our country. My dad’s journey to Jacksonville is a perfect example of how we save money everywhere we can.  We spent less than $2,000 on travel to host warriors at every NFL stadium across the country this season.

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Flights from Chicago to Jacksonville cost more than $250 one way.  So instead, my dad took the alternate route.  I was able to find airfare to Atlanta for $38.  From there, my dad took a train from the airport to the bus station & and jumped on a $1 overnight megabus to Jacksonville!  

We have made some unforgettable memories making Warrior Wishes Come True at Jaguars games over the past 5 years.

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Our friend, Erick Millette offered to pick my dad up at the bus station in Jacksonville.  Erick was our first Patriots guest ever in 2012.  He now lives in Jacksonville. 

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Erick had initially planned to pick my dad up at 5:00 AM.  However, two different megabusses broke down overnight.  Thankfully my dad finally arrived in Jacksonville safely around 9:30am. He barely had enough time to get to stadium to meet the other guests before kickoff.  Erick & My dad met up with the warriors in front of the stadium by the “Touchdown Jaguar Statue.”

We were honored to be hosting Erick, Sgt Michael Japak with his 10 year old son, Marine Marcus Mason with his Fiancee & the Gold Star father & Uncle of Army SGT Gene Lamie.  SGT Lamie made the ultimate sacrifice serving our country in 2007.  

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They got a great group photo in front of the stadium before heading inside to watch the Jaguars take on the defending Super Bowl Champion Broncos.  

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The Jacksonville Jaguars went above and beyond for the 2nd year in a row.  their military liaison, Angie Nix greeted everyone at the stadium.  Angie’s son is a marine & she has a deep appreciation for all who serve.  

Angie handed out envelopes with everyone’s name on them and a private note to each of the Warriors & told everyone where they needed to go to get down on the field before the game.  She also handed out “Jaguar dollars” so everyone could get a bite to eat too.  Angie got a little emotional as she thanked each guest personally – especially Mr Lamie.  

Now that everyone had their tickets & field passes, everyone headed inside to take the field. My dad said he could see the excitement on the Warriors faces as they walked through the tunnel onto the field.  They got some fantastic pictures and made once in a lifetime memories on the sidelines thanks to the Jaguars.   

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But the Jaguars weren’t done.  They had also provided Club Access as well!  Unfortunately, the Jaguars have had a tough season this year.  Heading into the game they were big underdogs.  They put up a good fight, but fell short to the Broncos 20-10.  

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Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Chad, Dave, Angie and the Jacksonville Jaguars for providing tickets, field passes and an unforgettable experience to the Warriors.  We would also like to thank New Era Cap for providing the Jaguars caps, Chive Charities for the KCCO T-shirts & Erick for providing transportation & a place to stay for my dad.  

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Most importantly, we want to thank Army Sgt Jeremy Japak, Marine Sgt Marcus Mason, Army SSG Erick Millette & the Gold Star Family of Army Sgt Gene Lamie. Your service & sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, they are appreciated, and will never be forgotten.

My dad will be making history tomorrow as he makes warrior wishes come true at the 32nd stadium in 82 days!  He will fly to New York first thing in the morning.  Stay tuned for more details!  

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

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Game 26 – Warrior Wishes Come True In Jacksonville!

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Immediately following making Warrior Wishes come true at the Monday night game in Cincinnati, my dad & our friend Bill drove overnight to get back home so my dad could spend some much needed time hanging out with family & for sleep in his own bed, but I accidentally locked him out of the house & he ended up sleeping on a rocking chair in the garage….

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Xander was so excited to have his grandpa back for the day & played with G-Pa all day long on Tuesday.
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Wednesday morning my dad was back on the road.  I dropped him off at O’hare at around 4:45am to catch his flight to Orlando. I know you’re wondering why he flew to Orlando?  There is no NFL team there…  He flew to Orlando because I scored $40 airfare.  It was much cheaper than flying straight to Jacksonville.
Here are some of our favorite memories from making Warrior Wishes come true in Jacksonville.
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My dad spent the entire day in Orlando soaking up the sun & even bumped into Darryl Strawberry before jumping on an overnight megabus to Jacksonville for $1.
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My dad arrived in Jacksonville to pouring down rain at around  2:30am Thursday morning.  He declined my offer to get him a hotel & found himself resting on a bench under a bridge to get some rest and finalize all the plans for the day.
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For our 26th game this season, We had the honor of making Warrior Wishes come true for  Army SGT Mike Gieger & the Gold Star family of SSG Darren Hubbell at the Jaguars game.  (Meet the warriors below)
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Jacksonville Sports Tavern was the perfect place to meet up with the warriors and get to know them before heading to the stadium for the game.  The tavern is located just outside Everbank field.  It’s the place to be before and after Jaguars games.  We would like to thank the Tavern for hosting us and providing delicious pregame food and drinks for the warriors and thier families.
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We would also like to thank the Jacksonville Jaguars for going above and beyond to make these Warrior Wishes come true.  The Jaguars provided tickets and suite passes to give the ultimate Jaguars gameday experience!
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They also helped us arrange a meeting with the one and only Jaxson De Ville, the Jaguars mascot.  SSG Hubbell’s grandaughter had requested to meet him.
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Thankfully the rain stopped before game time.  The Jaguars wearing thier all gold “color rush” jerseys pulled out the win late in the 4th quarter after returning a punt to the 5 yard line and scoring a touchdown on the very next play.  It was a memorable way to end a memorable day.
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These Warrior Wishes came true thanks to the Jaguars, Jacksonville Sports Tavern, New Era Cap & supporters like you!

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

My Dad is on his way to catch an overnight $1 megabus to Atlanta to catch a flight back to Chicago to spend a few more days at home before heading out to Baltimore & Boston this weekend to make Warrior Wishes come true at the Ravens & Patriots games.  I will also be back in action this sunday hosting a Gold Star family at the Bears game.

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MEET THE WARRIORS
ARMY SGT MICHAEL GIEGER
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Michael Gieger served in the United States Army for 8 1/2 years as a 31B which is the Military Police. During his time in the Army he rose to the rank of Sergeant. While Gieger was in high school he joined the Army JROTC and knew that the military was something he wanted to be a part of.
3 weeks after graduating he started basic training and says he made one of the best choices in his life. While in the Army Michael was able to be a part of so many great experiences. He served on his first deployment in 2002  in support of SFOR 11 in Bosnia. That was his first time out of the country and he loved being able to experience not only another culture but also connect so closely with the other Soldiers in his unit.
Gieger says “There are not many other jobs that you can have where you bond so closely with those you work with. The military is truly a family.”
Sgt Gieger also served on 2 deployments to Iraq & 1 to Korea.  The most important position he held in the Army was during his second tour in Iraq. Michael was a Squad Leader in his unit and being a leader in a combat zone is one of the biggest responsibilities a person can have.
The memories Gieger made from his time in the Army will always be something he cherishes and looks at with pride. He says he was lucky to spend time with some of the finest Soldiers and Leaders in the military.
Sgt Gieger always thought he would remain in the Army for life but was honorably discharged in 2009 & became a full time dad.  Michael is  a proud father of three boys.
SGT Gieger was thankful for the opportunity to take his son Mikie to his first NFL game to see his favorite team play.  It was an honor to host him and his son and make this Warrior Wish come true!
ARMY SSG DARREN HUBBELL
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Darren Patrick Hubbell Sr. served in the Army for 14 years.  His last post was at Ft. Stewart, Ga.  He was a Senior Line Medic with 1-64AR 2BCT 3dID.  He LOVED it!  Hubbell had served on deployments to Panama and  Iraq to 4 times (Desert Storm, OIF 1, OIF 3 and OIF 5).  His passion was the Army and his family.  Darren was a history buff, an avid computer game player, football fan—Florida all the way!  Jaguars and Gators, loved the beach and spending time with his kids.
In January 2007, his son, Darren Jr deployed to Iraq. May 2007, Darren Sr also deployed to Iraq.  They were about two hours from each other.  On June 20, 2007, SSG Darren P. Hubbell Sr. made the Ultimate Sacrifice when an IED detonated.  He was Killed In Action with 3 others.
SSG Hubbell’s family misses him tremendously but remembers to celebrate his life daily.  It was an honor to host his family at the Jaguars game in his honor and help keep his legacy alive.