Posted on

4th Annual Warrior Wishes Scramble Highlights

Operation warrior Wishes would like to thank everyone involved in making our 4th annual warrior Wishes Scramble a HUGE success!!! 


From our amazing board members who spent 6 months planning for the outing, to the Volunteers who donated their time to help.  From the sponsors & supporters who helped make it possible, to the athletes & celebrities who autographed items for our silent auction.  From all the golfers who came out to support our troops, to the troops who came out to have an unforgettable experience.  It was a truly amazing day & WE WANT TO THANK YOU ALL!!!

4th Annual Warrior Wishes Scramble Sponsors

The warriors began to arrive on Sunday morning.  This year we had the honor of hosting more than 40 warriors that traveled to Chicago from 27 different states!  


After multiple trips to the airports to pick up warriors and bring them back to the hotel, everyone met up in the lobby of the Hampton Inn hotel in Elgin & made their way downtown to Wrigley Field, home of the World Champion Chicago Cubs!  


Carlos & the Cubs organization went above and beyond to provide an unforgettable experience & tour of the “friendly confines.”  The warriors and their families were escorted down to the field on a private tour & also got to learn more about the history of the Chicago Cubs & Wrigley Field while sitting in the bleachers & watching Kyle Schwarber take BP before the game!  Schwarber hit multiple homers into the empty bleachers & I think just about all the warriors got to take home a ball as a souvenir!  

After the tour, the warriors took pictures in front of the Wrigley field marquis & with the World Series trophy before heading back to the hotel for the Scramble “pre party.”

IMG_5513  alley

This year’s pre party was held at Alley 64 in St Charles for the 2nd year in a row.  They provided a delicious dinner and a fun atmosphere to meet up with all the warriors!  Everyone had a great time before heading back to the hotel to get ready for our big day!

During a summer that has been filled with rain, floods, heat & humidity, we were very fortunate to have a beautiful day for golf! Our team was up before the sun came up to get the course ready before our guests arrived.  Unfortunately, we had some bad luck to start our morning, as Chris got locked out of his car & we got locked out of our trailer (that had all of our signage & supplies for the outing in it)…


Thankfully we were able to find a way inside & got everything out in time to set up before everyone arrived.  With limited time to set up, we were very fortunate & thankful to all of the volunteers who helped us get everything organized.  

_JAY9232 _JAY9203

At 7:45 am, the warriors all met up in the lobby of the Hampton Inn & were given a police escort to the Royal Hawk Country Club in St. Charles.  


American flags lined the entrance of the country club & were displayed throughout the course.  A red carpet welcome awaited the warriors as they arrived.  Police officers & firefighters also lined the entrance to welcome the warriors.

IMG_5977 IMG_5982 IMG_6105 IMG_6106

After everyone checked in & picked up their 2017 Warrior Wishes golf balls, thanks to Motorola Solutions, they enjoyed breakfast & browsed the silent auction items before making their way out to the patio in the back of the clubhouse for our opening ceremony.  

IMG_6102 IMG_6085 IMG_5986

We welcomed everyone in attendance & thanked them for being a part of our 4th annual Warrior Wishes Scramble.  The Color Guard presented the Colors & Ashley Victoria sang a beautiful rendition of our National Anthem.  

 IMG_6108 IMG_6080 IMG_5987

The golfers then made their way to their starting positions & our scramble was underway!

IMG_6110 IMG_6111 IMG_6112

For the most part, golf is a pretty serious sport.  It’s a game of concentration & skill.  Golf is one of the most frustrating sports out there.  That’s why we changed the rules and made our outing more about having fun than being so serious! Here’s a list of the fun & games we had on every hole.  

Hole 1 – Impex Beverages provided scotch samples & sold cigars (donated by La Vita)  which helped us raise hundreds of dollars!  While Ego challenged everyone to putt with a leaf blower.

IMG_6016 IMG_6017 IMG_6019 IMG_6020

Hole 2 – our friends at the Snack Factory provided some delicious samples & the hole was sponsored by K&S automotive & Synergy builders.

IMG_6013 IMG_6128 IMG_6014

Hole 3 – closest to the pin challenge sponsored by Our friends at Konicek & Dillon & Alley 64  

IMG_6012 IMG_6010 IMG_6007

Hole 4 – Vacationland sponsored our “Long Drive” contest & brought out a trailer to show off.  

IMG_6004 IMG_6005

Hole 5 – sponsored by Country Financial, office of Travis McDonald & Universal Marketing

IMG_6001 IMG_5999 IMG_6069

Hole 6 – this was one of everyone’s favorite hole.  Medal of Honor Sponsors, Toppel Plumbing, cooked out for everyone and handed out pulled pork sandwiches & massive brats to all the golfers!  YUMMY!!!  Elgin Beverage also provided refreshments on this hole.  

IMG_6055 IMG_5997 IMG_5998

Hole 7 – Bloomingdale & South Elgin Police sponsored our “Walk the Line” challenge.  The player who landed closest to the line won a prize.

IMG_5993 IMG_6099 IMG_6129

Hole 8 – the Bags team challenge was sponsored by RM Designs & Wildwood restaurant.  Each team competed to score the most points throwing bags & the winners split the pot.

IMG_5989 _JAY9130 IMG_5988

Hole 9 – Culver’s sponsored the Frozen Custard Frisbee Free Throw.  Each team had the opportunity to tee off using a frisbee.  They then had the choice between starting from the tee box or from where the frisbee landed.  

IMG_6072 IMG_6047 IMG_6048

Halfway through the day, Home Run Inn Pizza delivered hundreds of piping hot pizzas to the course & our amazing volunteers passed them out to the Golfers on the course.  

IMG_6059 IMG_6062

And Elgin Beverage kept everyone hydrated.  It was humbling to have Dog Tag brewing Legacy Lagers for all the golfers in attendance.

IMG_6063 IMG_6095

Hole 10 – Our friend and fellow board member, Don Gaylord & Edward Jones Investments sponsored our “Salute the Troops” hole.  The golfers had the opportunity to thank the troops in a video & took a team photo before teeing off.  

IMG_6114 IMG_5294 IMG_6116 IMG_6121 IMG_6119 IMG_6120

Hole 11 – The Warrior Wishes Scramble is the only golf outing where you can sit back and relax on a brand new LaZboy chair while playing golf!  Everyone had to tee off while sitting in the chair.  

IMG_6035 IMG_6033 IMG_6034

Hole 12 – thanks to our friends at Gerald Nissan, the golfers had an opportunity to hit a hole in one for a brand new Subaru Outback on this hole!  Unfortunately nobody got an “Ace”…

IMG_6028 IMG_6031 IMG_6030

Hole 13 – This was one of the warriors favorite holes.  Our friends at Rocket Fizz were there passing out candy & everyone had the opportunity to shoot a golf ball more than 350 yards down the fairway!

IMG_6027 IMG_6026 IMG_6087

Hole 14 – BMO Global Asset Management sponsored a closest to the pin challenge on this hole.  Revolution Brewing provided refreshments.

IMG_6023 IMG_6075 IMG_6057

Hole 15 – VLK law & Roadhouse sponsored the “Wheel of Fortune” on hole 15.  Each player tested their luck & spun the wheel.  Some had to tee off like Happy Gilmore, others had to tee off wearing oven mitts.  There were 8 different “fortunes” & It had people laughing all day long.

IMG_6037 IMG_6089 IMG_6088

Hole 16 – this par 4 gave everyone a moment to reflect on a few brace warriors who made the Ultimate Sacrifice while defending our country.  It’s important that we never forget about the sacrifices made!  The “Legacy hole” was sponsored by Patriot Landscaping & was by far the most patriotic hole on the course.  Hundreds of flags lined the tee box, fairway & green.  The Legacy Hole will be a new tradition at our annual Scramble.  

IMG_6045 IMG_6044 IMG_6046

Hole 17 – many golfers & warriors walked away with brand new New Era caps on Hole 17.  The rules were simple, Land the ball on the green & get a cap!  Thanks to New Era & Riteway Electric for sponsoring this hole.  

IMG_6041 IMG_6042 IMG_6040

Hole 18 – Sprint & the Gunderson family sponsored the 18th & final hole.  

IMG_6039 IMG_6071

As the golfers made their way off the course & back into the clubhouse, the kids from the School of Rock in Geneva rocked out and provided entertainment until everyone finished up & we started our banquet.  

IMG_6050 IMG_6053

We took time to thank & recognize all the warriors in attendance.


And honored a couple of Gold Star dad’s who shared their sons legacies & educated everyone about the meaning of the Gold Star pin.  It was an emotional & powerful presentation that nobody will forget.  

_JAY9268 _JAY9273

“If you ever see someone wearing the Gold Star Pin, thank them for their loved ones service & their family’s sacrifice. Then ask them to tell you something about their loved one.” 

Click the photos below to learn more about Sgt Joshua Harris & SSG Jacob Frazier

9040017_BG3 th

After our dinner break, we made last call for our silent auction, recognized all of the sponsors, pulled our 50/50 winner & revealed our 2017 Warrior Wishes Champions.  

IMG_6091 IMG_6092 IMG_6093

In all, Operation Warrior Wishes raised around $30k to make Warrior Wishes come true!   We are so thankful to everyone who helped us make this event a big success!  

As you follow us around this season on Facebook, twitter & our blog, know that every smile you see is because of your generosity!  

Our 2017 All32in17 mission kicks off on Thursday, August 3rd at the 2017 Hall of Fame Game in Canton, OH.  For the 6th straight year, we will be giving back to warriors across the country and hosting them as VIP guests to see their favorite teams in action.  You can see the schedule below.  

2017 All32in17 Mission Schedule (1)

Click the image below to see highlights from our 2017 Battlefields To Ballfields mission.

2017 Battlefields To Ballfields Schedule

Thank You again for your support!


Posted on

Making Wishes Come True For a WWII Warrior At The White Sox Game!

It was a true honor to host WWII Army Veteran Melvin Copeland at today’s Chicago White Sox game!


Mr. Copeland is an incredible man! He enlisted in the Army at the age of 16 & proudly served our country during WWII.

It was obviously a different world back then—and different doesn’t always mean better. Mel’s best friend in parachute school was white. When that best friend was critically injured in a training jump, Mel ran to the army medics who had arrived on the scene. His best friend had lost a great deal of blood. Just coincidentally, he and his best friend had the same blood type. But there skin color was different. The army medics refused Mel’s blood.

Even at an early age, Mel knew that prejudice is nothing more than the handmaiden of ignorance. Throughout his adult life, Mel confronted ignorance with knowledge, with tolerance and with the outstretched hand of generosity. He spent more than 50 years as a social worker. He was the first-ever African-American social worker in School District U-46. And he also served as a clinical therapist for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. At age 77, he was named Social Worker of the Year by the Illinois Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers.

During his time in Elgin, Mel began a close friendship with Elgin City Councilman Bob Gilliam. In the 1960s, Mel headed up the local branch of the NAACP. He advocated the importance of education and non-violence. He said that we should judge people not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. It was a lesson learned from his mentor, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., with whom Mel was closely acquainted in the early 1960s. “He was the most charismatic man I’d ever met,” Mel said of Dr. King. Mel, now in his 90s, remains active in the community. He’s part of a veterans group at Del Webb Edgewater in Elgin. And he’s a senior liaison for Honor Flight Chicago.


Operation Warrior Wishes is honored to call Melvin a friend & cannot thank him enough for his service, sacrifices & all he has done for human rights & his community throughout his life. We hope he had an unforgettable experience at the game today!

Special thanks to board member Mark Toppel for securing the 3rd row tickets & for hosting Melvin.

Toppel Plumbing Logo 2 JPG

Posted on

Game 23 – Warrior Wishes Come True At Soldier Field!

My dad is back home in Chicago wrapping up another crazy week filled with warrior wishes coming true!  While I was in Cleveland hosting a WWII Marine at the World series, He kicked off Week 8 of the NFL season hosting heroes in Nashville, then made his way to Indianapolis for the Sunday game.  I picked him up from the bus station last night so he could get a good night sleep before making Warrior Wishes come true in Chicago.  

img_8206 img_8312 img_8360

My dad was up early Monday morning to meet up with Marine CPL Matthew Wilkes & his wife at the Courtyard Marriott in St Charles. We would like to thank the Courtyard Marriott for donating 2 nights for them as they came all the way from Washington DC  to be our guests in Chicago!  Having said that, my dad wanted to give them the full Chicago experience before making their way to soldier field to meet up with the other warriors.  So he picked them up from the hotel & drove them to my work so I could take everyone to the train on my lunch hour.  


My dad was their tour guide for the day.  He made stops at Portillo’s, Wrigley Field & the “Sears Tower” where everyone faced their fears walking out on the glass ledge 106 floors above the city.  They had planned to get some deep dish pizza too, but ran out of time…

img_8395 img_1511 img_8400

My dad got a quick nap in too…


We have made more warrior wishes come true at Bears games than any other NFL team.  Mainly because we live in Chicago.  Here are some of our favorite memories!  

292707_329298437168421_1034010731_n 1375963_478908678874062_1689565917_n 1505531_518810308217232_99871599_n 1535445_517793178318945_1628561243_n 10301446_690195504412044_4867197185659675252_n 10897800_702339446530983_291468498454986793_n dsc09299 image1-1 image1-41 img_66301 14470570_1046454115452846_7347157713023394731_n

I think we all remember Brett Favres incredible “Halloween Game” in the pouring rain against the Bears in 1994.  Although clearly not as big a tradition as the Thanksgiving day games, Halloween does have its place in history with some memorable games. Will tonight be one of those games? 


While I was out trick or treating with Xander, my dad arrived at Soldier Field with the Wilkes and met up with Army Sgt Eugene Blackmon, Sgt Tyler Juckett, Army Sgt Ozzie Palizo  & Marine Cpl Ryan O’Hara.  

Marine Cpl Mathew Wilkes was nominated by his wife.  Last night My dad called Cpl Wilkes from a “radio station” with a chance to “win” tickets to the Bears game. Little did he know, it was a set up.  He correctly answered the questions and we surprised him with a once in a lifetime Chicago Bears experience at the Monday night game!  


The other Warriors were all local veterans and wounded warriors, nominated by previous recipients.  Thanks to a generous donation of 4 club level tickets by one of our Board Members, Mark Toppel, for the opportunity to host these heroes!

The Chicago Bears provided 2 Field Passes for a few of the Warriors. Cpl Wilkes & his wife were the only ones who made it in time to use them.  


Our friends at ESPN made sure they got to take a picture on the Monday Night Football set and with Steve Young & Trent Dilfer.

img_8457 img_8456

SGT Blackmon was next to arrive and My dad saved him spot to be on TV next to the kid holding the “CMon Man” Sign. However he just missed the live shot so he ended up on national TV by himself.  Xander enjoyed seeing G-Pa on TV.  


Marine Ryan O’Hara and his girlfriend sat in the club level with Marine Cpl Wilkes and his wife.  Sgt Juckett, Sgt Blackmon and Sgt Palizo sat down in the 100 level with my dad.  

img_8477 img_8478

The Bears were big underdogs coming into the game. Jay Cutler was back in the lineup & The Bears needed a win to try to save their season against the First Place Vikings who just lost their first game last week.  Thankfully for the Warriors & all bears fans, Jay Cutler turned in a brilliant performance & led the Bears to a surprising 20-10 victory!


After the game, we said our goodbyes to some of the Warriors & my dad escorted CPL Wilkes and his wife on the train to get them back to their hotel in St Charles. 


Operation Warrior Wishes would like to thank Laura at the Courtyard Marriott in St Charles for donating 2 Nights for the Wilkes, Toppel Plumbing for donating 4 club level tickets to the game, Chive Charities for providing the KCCO shirts, New Era for providing Bears caps to the Warriors & the Chicago Bears for providing Field Passes, a win and an unforgettable experience!

courtyard_logo_green New Era bears Toppel Plumbing Logo 2 JPG keep-calm-chive-on_full


But finally and most importantly, , THANK YOU to Marine Cpl Matthew Wilkes, Marine Cpl Ryan O’Hara, Army Sgt Lorenzo Amaro, Army Sgt Tyler Juckett, Army Sgt Eugene Blackmon & Army Sgt Ozzie Palizo for your service & sacrifices to our great country!  It’s appreciated, has not gone unnoticed & will never be forgotten!

My dad will enjoy a well deserved “day off” tomorrow to catch up on some sleep & hang out with his Grandkids before heading back on the road to Tampa (Thursday), Miami (Sunday) and Seattle (Monday). Stay tuned for more details!




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

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