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Game 32 – The LA Chargers Make Warrior Wishes Come True!

After making wishes come true at the Rams game last Sunday, my dad had his phone stolen right out of his hands! 

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This made for a challenging week since my dad was left without a phone for a few days and worked off of a defective replacement phone while he hosted warriors in Pittsburgh on Thursday.  But despite the challenge, he made it work & the guys had an awesome experience sitting close to the action at Heinz field. 

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He arrived back home on Friday and had limited time to get a new phone to replace the replaced phone before heading back to LA Saturday afternoon to host warriors at the Chargers game.

This was our 2nd Chargers game of the season.  Here are some of our favorite memories from making wishes come true at chargers games over the years. 

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My dad landed in LA at around 9:00pm.  He stayed the night at the airport & got a couple of hours of sleep before making his way to the StubHub Center at 6am Sunday morning.  

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Today we had the honor of hosting Army SGT Miguel Ruiz-Lopez (served 42 years!), Marine SGT Jason Hunter & Navy Veterans Jose Tovar & Lance Toguchi 

Our friends at Chilis located right row the street from the stadium offered to host the warriors for lunch for the second time this season.  My dad enjoyed getting to know Navy veterans Jose Tovar and Lance Toguchi as well as Army Sgt Miguel Ruiz-Lopez over a delicious meal before making their way over to the stadium.  

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While they enjoyed lunch, Marine Jason Hunter was over at Stubhub Center competing in friendly competition of arm wrestling, tug of war, and cask holding with Hall of Fame Buffalo Bills Wide Receiver Andre Reed!  

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Thanks to Shannon Jordan of “After the Impact Foundation,” Theresa Villano and Justina Rapala for providing SGT Hunter with this unforgettable opportunity!   He definitely enjoyed himself, especially considering he won 2 of the 3 events against the NFL Hall of Famer!

Before heading inside the stadium, the group enjoyed tailgating in he “Thunder Alley” with our friends at “Bolt Pride!”  As he always does, our friend Rafael welcomed the warriors with open arms and treated everyone to some amazing hospitality.  

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Rafael introduced our guests to his tailgating crew.  They received a big round of applause & were shown a lot of appreciation for their years of service & sacrifices.  

My dad presented the guys with thank you notes from students at Clinton Elementary school & new Chargers caps courtesy of New Era just before everyone made their way inside the stadium to see the Bills & Chargers kick things off. 

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The Chargers provided a lot of entertainment throughout the game.  Especially early on when they picked off the Bills new QB 5 times!  The turnovers helped give the Chargers a 34-7 lead after the first half.  The Bills changed QB’s in the second half, but it was to little to late & the Chargers won the game 54-24.

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For the 2nd straight week, the warriors got to see 50points scored in LA!  Last week the Rams scored 51 & this week the Chargers put up 54!

Operation would like to thank Clayton & Cristina from LA Chargers, along with Rams Offensive Tackle, Russell Okung for donating tickets.  We also want to thank Chilis for the delicious pregame meal, Bolt pride for hosting everyone at the tailgate, the Paralyzed Veterans of America organization for nominating some incredible warriors, New Era for providing Chargers caps & Theresa, Justina and Shannon for setting up event with Hall of Fame Buffalo Bills WR Andre Reed before the game.  

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we want to thank Navy Vets Jose Tovar & Lance Toguchi, Marine Jason Hunter and 42 year Army Veteran Miguel Ruiz-Lopez for their service to our country! We salute you!  

My dad seriously considered hosting warriors at the Lakers Game or The American Music Awards in LA, but unfortunately ran out of time…  He plans on spending another night at the airport & hopes to not have his phone stolen again…   He’ll be back in action tomorrow night in Seattle! Stay tuned for more details.

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It was an honor to host these brave warriors and make their Warrior Wishes come true. If you know a deserving warrior who would love to attend a game on our “All32in17” mission please nominate them today!

2017 All32in17 Mission Schedule (2)

Make sure to follow our mission live on Facebook Twitter & Instagram @WarriorWishes.

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 THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

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Game 15 – The San Diego Chargers Make Warrior Wishes Come True!

When planning this years All32in17 Mission, We considered having my dad spend 12 straight days on the west coast to make warrior wishes come true in San Francisco (Thursday), Los Angeles (Sunday), San Diego (Thursday), Oakland (Sunday) & Phoenix (Monday).  However, there was no way he would be able to sleep at the airport or bus station 12 straight nights & Hotel expenses would have cost $150+ per night!  

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Thankfully I was able to find airfare from LA to Chicago (after the Rams game) for $63.10.  And then I found airfare from Chicago to San Diego for $46.30!  Having said that, my dad had the opportunity to come home for a few days to catch up on sleep and with family before flying out to San Diego to make Warrior Wishes come true at the Chargers game!

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My dad took off Wednesday morning & said If there’s one city he doesn’t mind going to a day early – especially weather wise – it is San Diego.  They say it is always “75 and sunny” and today was closer to 80. There is no shortage of things to do either.  From the world famous Zoo to the beaches of Coronado, San Diego is a beautiful place to visit! Here are some of our favorite memories from making Warrior Wishes come true in San Diego!

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My dad met up with Army Sgt Jeffrey Pickard with his wife, Natasha, and Marines SSG Brandon Dodson, Jasmine Dodson & Kelly Randall at McGregor’s Ale House for lunch.  McGregor’s Ale House believes in great food, a broad selection of craft beer and offering a comfortable place for friends and neighbors to come together. Since 1996, they have worked hard to ensure that San Diego locals and visitors alike feel at home.  They certainly made sure the Warriors were taken care of & cant thank them enough for providing a delicious pregame meal and the perfect meeting spot before the game!  

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My dad had table all set for the Warriors complete with New Era Hats, Chive Shirts and letters from kids thanking them for their service. Over lunch, my dad got to know the Warriors and learned that Brandon had just retired last month with a ceremony at Walter Reed Medical Ctr in Bethesda MD.  

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Everyone took a trolley to the stadium, but unfortunately, the Bolt Pride tailgate, that we had planned to hang out with, was on the other side of stadium . Thankfully, my dad flagged down a golf cart for the warriors and he walked across the parking lot to A4 where our friend , Rafael Alvarez welcomed the Warriors with open arms. 

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They spent a little over an hour tailgating, eating and having a blast!  it was great hospitality!  The cart driver came back to the tailgate to pick up the Warriors for the game at about 4:45.  Once outside the stadium, they snapped a few pics before heading inside.

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The seats were incredible THANKS to the San Diego Chargers and linebacker Jerry Attaochu.  Located right on the goal line where it looked as if the ball was going to basically land in your lap when receivers ran corner routes. The Chargers have a program where players donate unused tickets to charities – Chargers Tight End Antonio Gates helped us out last year.  

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The Chargers have been having a tough time of late.  They consistently jump out to leads early, but have lost 3 of their first 4 games in the 4th quarter. Today the Chargers faced off with their division rivals, the Denver Broncos.  The Chargers jumped out to their early lead again taking a 19-3 lead into the 4th quarter!  

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Denver scored one quick touchdown early in the 4th.  Chargers fans began to get anxious especially when CJ Anderson scampered into the end zone for a second touchdown BUT a Broncos holding penalty took that 6 points off the board, and cost the Broncos any chance of finishing the comeback.  The Chargers held on to beat the Broncos by the score of 21-13 and got a much needed 21-13 win to stay alive in the AFC West race.  The warriors had a fantastic time and almost all of them left happy – Marine Kelly Randall is a Broncos fan… 

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Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Linebacker Jerry Attaochu & the San Diego Chargers for providing tickets and an incredible experience!  We would also like to thank New Era Cap for the Chargers caps, Bolt Pride for hosting everyone at your tailgate, The Chive for providing KCCO shirts, McGregors Ale House for the delicious meal and the kids from Clinton and Ranch View Schools for writing the Warriors letters!  

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly, we would like to thank Army Sgt Jeffrey Pickard & Marines SSG Brandon Dodson, Jasmine Dodson & Kelly Randall for their service and sacrifices to our country!  It’s appreciated, hasn’t gone unnoticed & will never be forgotten!!!

My dad plans to spend the night at the San Diego airport before catching a bus to LA tomorrow afternoon to catch a connecting $1 overnight megabus to San Francisco.  He will be in Oakland on Sunday to make warrior wishes come true at the Raiders game!  Stay tuned for more details!

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MEET THE WARRIORS

MARINE SSG BRANDON DODSON

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Staff Sergeant Brandon Dodson was born in Lemoore, California, on May 10, 1985. He enlisted into the Marine Corps’ delayed entry program August 2002 and graduated from Ramona High School, Ramona, California, in June of 2003. Staff Sergeant Dodson attended Recruit Training July 2003 at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, CA.

​Following completion of Recruit Training, Private First Class Dodson attended School of Infantry out of Camp Pendleton, California, where he learned the skills necessary to be a basic infantryman. Private First Class Dodson was assigned to A Company, 1st Battalion 4th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton, California, and promoted to Lance Corporal. 27 May 2004, Lance Corporal Dodson conducted his first deployment in support for Operation Iraqi Freedom as a Rifleman/Saw Gunner, returning home 25 February 2005. One year later, Corporal Dodson acted as a Team Leader for Weapons Platoon, Assault Section, attaching to 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit and touring Hawaii, Australia, Singapore, Dubai, Kuwait, and Thailand. He then gained further experience as a Squad Leader for a Mobile Assault Platoon, deploying to Al Qaim, Iraq, from March 2007 to November 2007. Corporal Dodson was promoted in country 1 June 2007 to the rank of Sergeant.

​Shortly after returning from Iraq, Sergeant Dodson transferred in April of 2008 to Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego to further challenge himself as a Drill Instructor. Upon completion of Drill Instructor School, Sergeant Dodson served as Drill Instructor and Senior Drill Instructor for Mike, STC, and India companies, assisting in the successful graduation of no less than 500 Marine Corps recruits.

Upon completion of his assignment as a Drill Instructor, Sergeant Dodson transferred to 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Division, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. He deployed from March 2012 to September 2012, to Sangin, Afghanistan, as a Squad Leader. Sergeant Dodson was promoted to Staff Sergeant 1 January 2013 and was put on Temporary Assigned Duty (TAD) to the Tactical Training Exercise Group (TTECG) for six months, where he served as Platoon Sergeant for no less than 40 Marine role players and 500 civilian role players, working in support of the Integrated Training Exercise (ITX).

​1 March 2014, Staff Sergeant Dodson deployed to Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan, as Platoon Sergeant. While on patrol, Staff Sergeant Dodson became injured after stepping on an Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Following his injury, Staff Sergeant Dodson was transferred to Walter Reed National Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, and attached to Wounded Warrior Battalion, Walter Reed Detachment, where he medically retired on September 9, 2016. He currently resides in San Diego, CA .

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His personal decorations include the Purple Heart, Navy Achievement medal, and Combat Action Ribbon as well as numerous unit and service awards.

MARINE WARRIOR JASMINE DODSON

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I enlisted in the Marine Corps Jan 2001 as a Motor Transport Logistics Vehicle System Operator. I was stationed at Camp Pendleton with the 11th Marines. I deployed to Kuwait in 2003 and was part of the invasion of Iraq. I was honorably discharged as a Corporal in January 2005.

After being a civilian for almost 3years I got involuntary recalled back to active duty for 1year. I then was attached to CLB-1 out of Camp Pendleton. I returned to Iraq and was based out of Fallujah. Upon returning home I was honorably discharged for the second and final time in 2008.

I met my husband December 2009 and married October 2010. We had our son December 2012 while stationed at 29 Palms, CA. We now reside in San Diego, CA.

MARINE WARRIOR KELLY RANDALL

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I born and raised in SoCal. Graduated high school at Temecula Valley High. Headed to Parris Island SC for boot camp in September 11, 2001 and was stationed with HQ Battery 11 Marines Regiment at Camp Pendleton CA until 2005.
 
After my time in service, I gained my Bachelors degree in business management, and am now performing book keeping and financials for a veteran owned business in Vista, where I am also currently residing.
 
I enjoy fitness and family time.
ARMY SGT JEFFREY PICKARD
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2016 ALL32IN17 Schedule

Facebook “Operation Warrior Wishes”

Twitter “@WarriorWishes”

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www.WarriorWishes.org

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

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Game 17 – Warrior Wishes Come True In San Diego

After making Warrior Wishes come true at 16 NFL games throughout the first 6 weeks of the season, my dad took a few “days off” to catch up on lost sleep and spent some quality time at home with the family.

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This week we’re packed our bags and headed out west to honor the legacy of LTC Heath Kelly & make Warrior Wishes come true for US Army SGT Jeff Selby, Marine CPL Shawn Collins at the San Diego Chargers game.
A few months ago I was able to score $34 airfare to Los Angeles. So Saturday night we flew to LA rented a car & drive a few hours south to San Diego.  Ironically the Car rental company upgraded our rental and gave us a Charger…
Sunday morning we met up with warriors for breakfast thanks to our friends at Whole Foods Market.
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 Whole foods market on university avenue in San Diego has been helping us make Warrior Wishes come true & supporting our mission since 2012!
After getting to know the Warriors & their families over breakfast, we fought an hour of traffic and eventually made our way over to Qualcomm stadium to tailgate with some Chargers ultimate fans.   It was an ultimate Chargers tailgate experience!
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The Warriors were treated to great seats 23 rows off the field thanks to Chargers Tight End, Antonio Gates & Safety, Jimmy Wilson!  Gates & Wilson donated their tickets to help us make these warrior wishes come true!
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Unfortunately the Raiders were too much for the Chargers to handle & lost the game, but everyone still had a great time!
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We would like to thank Whole Foods, the Bolt pride Tailgate, The San Diego Chargers, Antonio Gates, Jimmy Wilson  & New Era for helping us make these Warrior Wishes come true!
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My dad was able to spend a few hours hanging out with Xander after the game before jumping on an overnight bus to Phoenix to make more Wishes come true at the Arizona Cardinals game Monday night.
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!
MEET THE WARRIORS
 
LTC. Heath A Kelly
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LTC. Heath Austin Kelly was born on 20 May 1976 in Metairie, Louisiana.  He attended Military College in Vermont, and is a graduate of Norwich University.
Dually assigned as the Commander of the Nevada Military Department Joint Force Headquarters and the State Surface Maintenance Manager for the Office of the Director of Logistics, Major Kelly was commissioned a Second Lieutenant of Field Artillery upon graduation from Norwich University in May 1998.  He started his career with Headquarters and Headquarters Battery of the 2ND Battalion, 82ND Field Artillery Regiment at Fort Hood, Texas, where he served as a Targeting Officer, Reconnaissance and Survey Officer, and Battalion Logistics Officer.  As a Captain he served as the Fire Support Officer for Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 17TH Field Artillery Battalion at Camp Stanley in the Republic of Korea and, in 2004, as a Security Force Action Officer for III Corps Artillery, Multi-National Forces Iraq, during Operation Iraqi Freedom II.  
Appointed to the Nevada Army National Guard in July 2005, MAJ Kelly served as Detachment Commander for the 992ND Troop Command (Las Vegas), Commander of the 1864THTransportation Company (Las Vegas), Maintenance Management Officer for the Director of Logistics (Carson City), and as the Assistant Operations Officer and Operations Officer for the 991ST Troop Command (Reno).
LTC Heath Kelly was killed  on September 6, 2011. A mentally ill gunman walked into the IHOP restaurant in Carson City, NV that morning and opened fire. LTC Kelly and several of his military team members became innocent bystanders of that tragic day since they were all in uniforms.
“Heath’s love for the serving his country was unparalleled. He literally carried the Soldier’s Creed in his wallet and he believed whole heartedly that it was his purpose in life to serve and protect the country he loved so much” Says his wife.
LTC Kelly’s military decorations include the Army Commendation Medal with two Silver Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal and the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
LTC Kelly is survived by his wife Tracy, his daughter Kassidy, and his son Tristan.
CPL. Shawn Collins
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CPL Collins Enlisted in USMC in 2000-2004 and assigned to Camp Pendleton, CA.  He served in Light Armor Reconnaissance unit (1st LAR for the 1st Marine Division) as a crewman/gunner.  He has been deployed to Africa as a WESPAC mission in 2001 and then re-deployed to Afghanistan soon after.  Ensured security for supply deliveries and safety checks on military routes.  Deployed to Iraq in 2003 as the initial invasion force.  Conducted reconnaissance missions to ensure safe troop movements in hostile environments.  First to arrive at conflict/hostile locations to establish routes for troops to follow.  Rescued hostages from directed locations and recovered ammo caches from enemy troops.  Engaged enemy fire during hostile ambush.
Completed Marine Corps Rescue Swimmer school in 2002
Awards
Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal
Presidential Unit Citation
Combat Action Ribbons
Sea Service Deployment Ribbon
Army SGT Jeff Selby
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Sergeant Jeff Selby is a U.S. Army Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm Combat Veteran. He served proudly with the 525th Military Intelligence Brigade (Airborne) in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait from September 1990 thru April 1991. Sergeant Selby played an integral role in the liberation of Kuwait, helping to drive out the Iraqi Army. Early in his career Sergeant Selby earned the parachutist badge becoming an Airborne Paratrooper. Sergeant Selby is the proud recipient of the following awards and medals. National Defense Service Ribbon, Southwest Asia Service Medal with 2 bronze service stars, Army Commendation Award and the Kuwait Liberation Medal. Sergeant Selbys valor and commitment to duty and excellence are in keeping with the finest military history and traditions.
Sergeant Selby is a 30% service connected disabled Veteran due to sustaining a torn ACL in his left knee during his career.