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Battlefields To Ballfields Mission Accomplished!

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

Attending 50 professional sporting events in 50 days seems impossible, not only did my dad make it possible, but he honored over 200 military heroes in the process!

My dad is a 57 year old grandfather who has dedicated himself to honoring the service and sacrifices of the brave men and women who have served our country.  He gets paid absolutely nothing, sacrifices time away from family & often sleeps in the most random public places because he would rather save money on hotels to give back to more warriors.  These soldiers have sacrificed much more to give us our freedom, and my dad has chosen to use his freedom to put smiles on their faces by giving them a day of fun at a ball game.  He wants them & their families to know that their service and sacrifices did not go unnoticed and that they are appreciated.  My dad does everything he can to make each warriors experience special.

Over the past 2 and a half years my Dad and I have been honored to host over 1000 soldiers (Active Duty,Veterans, Wounded Warriors & Gold Star Families) at more than 250 sporting events nationwide.  Over the past 50 days he has been on the road making Warrior Wishes come true on our Battlefields to Ballfields mission.

Battlefields to Ballfields was our mission to honor warriors at Baseball, Basketball & Hockey games from the beginning of April Throughout Memorial Day 2015.

Throughout the mission, my dad honored over 200 Warriors & Gold Star families traveling over 11,000 miles, mostly by bus thru Chicago, Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Buffalo, New York, Boston, DC, Pittsburgh, Philly, Baltimore, Charlotte, Tampa, Miami, Orlando, Atlanta, Memphis, Dallas, houston, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Phoenix, Anaheim, San Diego, Los Angeles, Oakland & San Francisco.

Thanks to early planning & the generosity of so many teams, businesses & people, Operation Warrior Wishes spent less than $5000 to honor & host all the warriors and their family members (more than 350 total guests & 8 service dogs) including travel to make it all possible!

TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!

My Dad will be home for the summer before hitting the road this fall to make Warrior Wishes come true at all 32 NFL stadiums in 1 seson for our 4th consecutive “All32in17” mission!  you can nominate your hero for an upcoming event here.

Here are some random facts from the Battlefields to Ballfields Mission.

*we honored more than 200 soldiers at a total of 51 games,

      *40 Gold Star Families

      * 8 service dogs

*We saw the home team win 23 times & lose 27 times.

*42 Baseball Games

*5 Basketball Games (Celtics won 3 of them)

*4 Hockey Games (all 3 ended with the home team losing by the score of 2-1)

*We never saw these teams lose- Cardinals, White Sox, Tigers, Reds, Yankees, Rays, Angels, Bulls Celtics, Wild, NY Rangers

*We never saw these teams win- Mariners, Braves, Blue Jays, Twins, Brewers, Cubs, Raptors, Nets, Cavs, Pistons, Penguins & Blackhawks

*We saw the Nationals score a total of 67 runs at 9 games (2nd most was Red Sox with 28 Runs in 5 games, 3rd most Rockies 26 runs in 6 games)

*We saw a total of 350 runs, 962 points & 9 goals scored,

*My dad travelled over 11,000 miles

      *spent over 150 hours on a bus

      *spent 15 nights sleeping on the bus

      *took a total of 4 flights

      *Slept in only 7 hotels in 49 days

      *went a full week without sleeping in a bed

The Itinerary….  (Click on any Team in red to see Warrior Wishes coming true!)

3/31 – Bus to St. Louis ($20) BLUES

4/1 – Bus to Chicago ($20)

4/2 – Train R/T to Chicago ($15) BLACKHAWKS

4/3-  Train R/T to Chicago ($15) BULLS

4/5-  Train R/T to Chicago ($15) CUBS (Opening Day)

4/6- 2 hour bus to Milwaukee ($20) BREWERS (Opening Day)

4/7- Drive to Chicago ($15 gas) BLACKHAWKS 6 hour overnight Bus to Detroit ($1)

4/8- TIGERS (day game) PISTONS (night game) 5 hour overnight bus to Cincinnati ($28.50)

4/9-  REDS (day game) 5 hour overnight bus to Cleveland ($1)

4/10- INDIANS (Opening Day) CAVS (night game) 4 hour overnight bus to Buffalo ($15)

4/11- 7.5 hour overnight bus to NYC ($15)

4/12- YANKEES (hotel $95.95)

4/13- NETS 4 hour overnight bus to Boston ($1)

4/14- RED SOX & CELTICS (donated hotel)

4/15- RED SOX 10 hour overnight bus to DC ($1)

4/16- NATIONALS slept at bus station

4/17- NATIONALS 7 hour overnight bus to Pittsburgh ($10)

4/18- PIRATES slept in rental car parked in the parking garage of the casino

4/19- PIRATES (hotel $84.61)

4/20- PENGUINS 7 hour overnight bus to Philadelphia ($1)

4/21- PHILLIES slept at bus station

4/22- PHILLIES 2 hour bus to DC ($1) slept at bus station

4/23- NATIONALS slept at bus station

4/24- 1 hour bus to Baltimore ($1) ORIOLES Stayed up all night working at hotel not staying at

4/25- ORIOLES (RIOT GAME) 1 hour bus to DC ($1) slept at airport

4/26- Flight to Tampa ($80.10) RAYS 5 hour overnight bus to Miami ($1)

4/27- MARLINS (hotel $72.51)

4/28- MARLINS 6 hour overnight bus to Orlando ($2) (missed connecting bus to ATL due to delay)

4/29- 8.5 hour bus to Atlanta ($2) BRAVES slept at airport

4/30- BRAVES 6.5 hour bus to Memphis ($20) 8 hour bus to Dallas ($20)

5/1- RANGERS (hotel $49.40)

5/2- RANGERS 4.5 hour overnight bus to Houston ($1)

5/3- ASTROS slept at friends house in Houston

5/4- ASTROS flew home to Chicago to surprise family for the day thanks to friends in Houston

5/5- 5 hour bus to St. Louis ($21.50) CARDINALS 4 hour overnight bus to KC ($23.12)

5/6- ROYALS slept at airport

5/7- ROYALS slept at airport

5/8- Flight to Denver ($62.10) ROCKIES donated hotel

5/9- ROCKIES (RAINED/SNOWED OUT) hotel thanks to our friend Joey

5/10- Flight to Phoenix ($38.09) (delayed due to snow storm) D’BACKS slept at warriors house

5/11- D’BACKS 6 hour overnight bus to LA ($18.50)

5/12- Bus to Anaheim ($2) ANGELS Bus to LA ($2) slept at airport

5/13- Bus to Anaheim ($2) ANGELS 4 hour overnight bus to San Diego ($25.50)

5/14- PADRES (RAIN DELAY) slept on park bench outside the bus station

5/15- PADRES stayed up all night working at hotel not staying at

5/16- 4 hour bus to Los Angeles ($25.50) DODGERS 10 hour overnight bus to Oakland ($10)

5/17- ATHELETICS Train to San Fran ($5) slept at airport

5/18- DAY OFF!!! (hotel thanks to our friend joey)

5/19- GIANTS slept at airport

5/20- GIANTS Flight home to Chicago ($88.09)

TOTAL COST FOR TRAVEL & HOTELS – $948.47

Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank the following teams

for helping us make our #BattlefieldsToBallfields mission a big success

St. Louis Blues provided tickets in the owners suite

Chicago Blackhawks provided tickets & post game locker room passes

Chicago Bulls provided gift bags

Milwaukee Brewers provided tickets & pregame batting practice field passes

Detroit Tigers provided tickets

Detroit Pistons provided dinner, transportation & a suite for 12 

Cincinnati Reds provided tickets & honored warriors during the game

Cleveland Cavaliers provided a suite a giftbags for 12

New York Yankees provided tickets and a tour of the stadium before the game

Boston Celtics provided tickets 

Boston Red Sox provided tickets

Washington Nationals provided tickets to multiple games

Philadelphia Phillies provided tickets to multiple games

Pittsburgh Penguins provided playoff tickets

Baltimore Orioles provided tickets and pregame batting practice field passes

Tampa Rays provided tickets 

Miami Marlins provided tickets, t-shirts, pregame field passes & honored warriors at 2 games

Atlanta Braves provided tickets and pregame field passes at multiple games

Texas Rangers teamed up with Globe Life to provide a suite, jerseys & scoreboard message

Houston Astros provided tickets and honored warriors at multiple games

St Louis Cardinals provided tickets

Kansas City Royals provided tickets

Colorado Rockies provided tickets and honored warriors on the field

Arizona Diamondbacks provided tickets and pregame field passes 

San Diego Padres provided tickets, Camoflage jerseys & honored warriors at multiple games

Los Angeles Dodgers provided tickets & scoreboard salute

Oakland A’s provided tickets, gift bags and a scoreboard salute

San Francisco Giants provided tickets 

Operation Warrior Wishes would also like to thank these people & businesses

for helping us make these Warrior Wishes Come True

on our Battlefields to Ballfields mission!

New Era Caps

Billy Goat Tavern & Grill – Chicago

Whole Foods – Chicago

Honor America’s Valor – Chicago

Hockeytown – Detroit

Westin Book Cadillac – Detroit

Hard Rock Cafe – Cleveland

Hard Rock Cafe Yankee Stadium – New York

Whole Foods – Boston

The Constitution Inn – Boston

Gordon Biersch – DC

Atrias – Pittsburgh

McFaddens – Philadelphia

Onesti Entertainment – Chicago

Westin BWI – Baltimore

Dempsey’s – Baltimore

Sliders Bar & Grill – Baltimore

Burg’s Sports bar – Tampa

Hampton Inn – Miami

Whole Foods – Atlanta

Globe Life Insurance – Texas

TGI Friday’s – Texas

Hampton Inn – Houston

Colin & Vanessa Hulme

Joey Ossey

Cardinals Nation – St. Louis

Outback Steakhouse – Kansas City

Stewartsville School

Elways Restaurant

Denver Chop House

Whole Foods – Arizona

Game 7 Grill – Arizona

Bubba Gump Shrimp – Anaheim

Whole Foods San Diego 

Cloudeez – San Diego

Whole Foods – San Francisco

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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!