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Game 21 – Titans LB Avery Williamson Makes Warrior Wishes Come True!

 

It’s been another wild week of making Warrior Wishes come true.  It all started last Thursday when my dad hosted heroes in Green Bay. Sunday he was making Wishes come true in Kansas City & Monday he made more come true in Denver!

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I dropped my dad off at the airport Wednesday morning while we were on our way to host a WWII Marine at game 2 of the World Series!

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My dad arrived in Nashville Wednesday evening and spent the night at the airport before heading out to meet up with the Warriors. 

We have made some unforgettable memories making warrior wishes come true at Titans games over the past 4 seasons.

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This weekend’s Warrior Wishes Experience has been a few weeks in the making, with some incredible partners.  This past September, we got a call from LaCorte Enterprises about a project with Titans LB Avery Williamson. He had a pair of custom cleats created to honor 9/11 First Responders that he wanted to wear and then auction off.  He chose Operation Warrior Wishes to donate the proceeds of the auction! (Thanks Theresa). 

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As the project developed, there was talk that the NFL was not going to allow him to wear them and if he did , he would be fined. The story garnered a lot of media attention, even getting on TMZ a couple times, especially when Port Authority New York Police Union offered to pay his fine. Well, as it turned out, NFL backed down and let him wear the cleats! The auction raised $6,600 of which half was donated to our mission.

The years Titans experience started at 1pm when my dad met up with Army SGT Ben McCarty & his wife at “The Escape Game.”   The Escape is a very fun experience for groups of 4 to 8 people who get locked in a room and have to find clues in order for them to “escape.”  The Escape Game in Nashville has been helping make Warrior Wishes come true since 2013!

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Sgt McCarty’s wife surprised him when she told him he was going to be out guest for the Titans game later  in the evening. He originally thought he was there to meet family. Clearly, he was not to sure what was going on, as the look on his face was priceless.  Once he learned why he was REALLY there, he relaxed and we had a great time trying to escape.

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Gerst Haus hosted the warriors for a delicious German meal before the game.  SGT McCarty, his wife & my dad met up with the Gold Star Mom of Army Spc Jason Edens, Janet Crane and her husband Mike (also served in the Army for 9 years).  They got to know a little bit about each other over dinner before making their way over to the stadium to tailgate with our new friends at Cooper Steel.  

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Gary Cooper, president of Cooper Steel was the winning bidder for the 9-11 cleats.   He and his entire tailgate crew welcomed the warriors and Avery Williamson’s family to the tailgate with open arms & a big sign!    

My dad had the opportunity to introduce the warriors to everyone at the tailgate.  He made sure to thank mr. Cooper & the Williamson family for their generous donation and the opportunity to host the Warriors at today’s game!  He also broke into tears as he took a moment of silence to reflect on the ultimate sacrifice made by SPC Edens.  

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Needless to say everyone was stuffed after eating dinner and then tailgating, So they all walked off some calories and headed into the stadium.

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The Titans gave the Warriors a lot to cheer about as they jumped out to a 24-0 lead early and never looked back.  They crushed the Jaguars 36-22.

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After the game we met back up with Gary & Mr and Mrs Williamson so we could meet Avery and he could present the 9/11 cleats to Gary.  Avery was awesome!  He took plenty of time meeting and hanging out with the warriors. It was an unforgettable experience!!!  

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SEE ALL THE PHOTOS FROM THIS EXPERIENCE HERE!

Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Theresa for recommending us to Avery, Melissa for running the project, Avery for the idea to design them and Gary for bidding.  We also want to Thank Gerst Haus for providing the delicious PreGame meal, New Era for providing the Titans Caps, as well as Tom at Jack Daniels and Megan at Cooper Steel for the awesome tailgates.

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TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

Most importantly THANK YOU to Army Sgt Ben McCarty, Army Sgt Mike Crane & Gold Star Mom of Fallen Hero Army Spc Jason Edens.  Their service and sacrifices have not gone unnoticed, they are forever appreciated & will never be forgotten!  

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

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Titans LB Auctions off custom 9/11 Cleats to Make Warrior Wishes Come True!!!

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The NFL squashed Titans starting linebacker Avery Williamson’s plan to use fancy footwear to honor those who died on Sept. 11, 2001.

Williamson was going to wear custom patriotic cleats during the Titans’ home opener against the Vikings on Sunday, the 15th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but those plans changed when a league representative called to inform him about a looming fine for violating uniform code.

“I don’t want to draw negative attention, so I’m just going to focus on playing the game,” Williamson told The Tennessean on Friday. “Once I heard from them, I didn’t even try to argue anything. I just left it alone. I didn’t want to press the issue.”

The star-spangled blue cleats with red- and white-striped Nike swooshes were airbrushed by True Blue Customs in Lexington, Ky. They feature the words “Never Forget” and “9/11” on the back of each shoe, with the “11” representing the Twin Towers. The NFL mandates all teammates wear the same color scheme on their shoes.

Williamson is instead auctioning the cleats to benefit Operation Warrior Wishes, plus offering a meet and greet, two VIP tickets to a Titans home game and an autographed jersey.

“I’m going to try to get a couple of veterans to come to a game,” Williamson said. “I feel like just reaching out to people, helping them, somebody that’s served our country, I feel like that’s a great honor, so I wanted to do something nice for them. I feel like it’s a great cause.”

The NFL is notoriously strict about its uniform code.

In August, the league prohibited the Dallas Cowboys from wearing a helmet sticker honoring local police.

Last season, the NFL fined two Pittsburgh Steelers players $5,787 each for first-offense uniform violations –running back DeAngelo Williams for wearing “Find the Cure” in his eye black to promote breast cancer awareness, and cornerback William Gay for wearing purple cleats to raise awareness about domestic violence.

The New York Giants’ Odell Beckham and Victor Cruz plan to wear patriotic cleats in Sunday’s game against the Cowboys. The Tennessean has reached out to the NFL for comment on whether these players have received special permission or are simply willing to pay the fine.

Williamson, a fifth-round draft pick out of Kentucky in 2014, said he realized how large a platform NFL players have when San Francisco 49ers quarterbackColin Kaepernick stirred controversy by refusing to stand for the national anthem, because he feels minorities are oppressed by the United States.

“I guess if he wants to stand up for something, he can, because everybody has a voice,” Williamson said. “If that’s the way he wants to express himself, that’s the way he’s doing it. It’s his decision. And I just wish him luck with it.

“It can be used for good or bad, either or, but you definitely have a bigger platform than you think.”

Titans teammates have encouraged Williamson to wear his custom cleats anyway, and have offered to chip in to help pay the fine.

But he has another idea.

“I got some shoes I got done exactly like the cleats,” Williamson said, “so I’m just going to wear them to the game.”

SOURCE- http://www.tennessean.com/story/sports/nfl/titans/2016/09/09/nfl-squashes-titans-linebacker-avery-williamsons-plan-honor-911-victims/89956128/

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Game 24 – Warrior Wishes Come True In Tennessee!

On November 1st, my dad took off to make warrior wishes come true in Atlanta.  Since then he has bussed to Charlotte to host warriors at the Panthers game, bussed back to Atlanta to fly to come home for a day.  Then he took an overnight bus to Cincinnati for the Thursday night Bengals game, bussed over to cleveland then Buffalo to make warrior wishes come true at the Bills game, then bussed to Philly to host heroes at the Philadelphia Flyers game before bussing to Boston to make warrior wishes come true on Military appreciation night at the Boston Bruins game.  He flew home Friday (November 13th) morning to spend some time with family & get some sleep in an actual bed.

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you see prior to coming home my dad spent the previous 5 nights sleeping at airports or on overnight busses so we could save money on hotels & make more warrior wishes come true.

He was home for about 24 hours before he hit the road again.  This time he was heading to Nashville to make warrior wishes come true at the Tennesse Titans game.

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Our Friend Bill offered to drive to Nashville and help him host the warriors in Nashville & Cincinnati.  My dad took him up on his offer & was even treated to a night in a hotel before meeting up with the warriors Sunday morning.

My Dad & Bill met up with the warriors and Gold Star family of Army SPC Brandon Mullins at the Escape Game in Nashville to kickoff the day.  (Meet the warriors below)

The Escape game is one of the most unique and awesome experiences in Nashville.  The year is 1955. You’ve been wrongfully accused of a crime, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Your new “home” is a cell that once belonged to an inmate who disappeared without a trace…or did he? Some claim he escaped. Others swear he was murdered by the infamously cruel warden. But no one actually knows…can you escape before you suffer the same fate?

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Literally 10 minutes after everyone met each other, they were separated, locked in prison cells & on the clock trying to “ESCAPE”.  It was a great way for everyone to get to know one another.

After everyone escaped, they made their way over to the Titans stadium to tailgate with our freinds at Jack Daniels.

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The Titans unfortunately lost to the undefeated Panthers, but despite the loss everyone had an awesome time.

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We would like to thank The Escape Game for providing some pregame entertainment, Jack Daniels for hosting everyone at the tailgate, our friend Bill for driving & hooking my dad up with a hotel & New Era for providing Titans Caps for all the warriors.

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

My Dad & Bill will be back on the road first thing in the morning heading back to Cincinnati to make warrior wishes come true at the Bengals game for our 25th game this season!

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Twitter @WarriorWishes

Facebook “Operation Warrior Wishes”

Thank you for your support!

ARMY SPC BRANDON MULLINS 

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KIA 8/25/2011

Pfc. Brandon Scott Mullins, 21, graduated from Apollo High School in 2008, participated in hockey and youth football and was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing. Pfc. Mullins joined the Army in 2010 and had been assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division at Fort Wainwright, Ala.
On Thursday, August 25, 2011 the 21 year old made the ultimate sacrifice while serving his country in Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.  SPC Mullins is remembered as a selfless young man who made a difference in the lives of others.
At Brandon’s service, Army Gen. Steve Lyons said “Some people can live their entire lives wondering, did they make a difference.  We never have to wonder about Brandon’s life.”

David Mullins said his nephew knew the risks of enlisting, but wanted to follow in the steps of his older brother, father and grandfather.

“He wanted to serve and was proud to serve,” Mullins said, adding that his nephew had planned to re-enlist.

Brandon’s parents wrote this song for Brandon called “Twenty One”  See the music video below and hear Brandon’s message to his loved ones.

It was a true honor to help keep SPC Brandon Mullins Legacy alive and host surviving family members at the Titans game in his honor.  #TEAMBRANDON

ARMY MASTER SGT DE’MOND DEARING

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De’mond began his military career when he enlisted in the United States Army in June of 1994.  He has proudly served our country for the past 21 years!

De’mond joined the military at the young age of 18, straight out of high school and became a Jump Master and Ranger during his career. Dearing Served multiple tours in Iraq, Afganistan, and almost every place that required his Ranger team to go. He has been deployed for 85% of his career and was recently honored by 112th Signal Battalion (Special Operations) (Airborne) in Fort Bragg, NC on September 18,2015.

Master SGT De’mond Dearing has given his life to our country, through his blood sweat and tears.  Dearing endured the horrors of many wars, leading and instructing young soldiers to succeed as great soldiers. He has labored many hours around the clock. Always available to his soldiers even during his family time.

After serving our country for 21 years, De’mond retired at the age of 39 as Sergeant Major, Ranger, Jump Master, Army Acheivement Medal, Nato Medal & More.  He is a true solider!

De’mond was nominated for the Titans game by both his brother, who also served in the military(Navy) & his mom.  They have always wanted to take him to a game, but he was always overseas and never had the opportunity.  It was a true honor to host him & his family at his first ever Titans game and make this Warrior Wish come true!

ARMY SPC STEVEN RANDALL

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SPC Steven Randall, a member of the Army signal corps, has served for 5 years and counting.  He has been stationed at Fort Gordon, Schweinfurt, Germany, and now resides at Fort Campbell, KY with his wife and 3 puppies. He enjoys fishing, kayaking, and weight lifting. SPC Randall recently reenlisted.