Wounded Warrior Project®
In November, Michigan Tech Huskies welcomed Staff Sergeant Jon French, local veteran and Michigan Tech alumni, to their ice hockey event during their Military Appreciation Weekend. The former Husky played on the 1993-94 men’s ice hockey team before joining the U.S. Army in 2007. French was invited to step on the ice again, but this time as an honored guest accompanied by his two young sons. Together, the trio dropped the game puck and the crowd roared with applause loud enough to vibrate the seats. The boys beamed with love and pride as they watched their father receive recognition for his service.
“Michigan Tech is honored to recognize our service men and women for their sacrifice and commitment to our country,” said Assistant Vice President and Director of Athletics Dr. Suzanne Sanregret. “Our show of gratitude on Military Appreciation Weekend is the least that we can do. We have the freedom to participate in collegiate athletics because of our veterans and active military personnel and their dedication to keep our country safe and free.”
To host a collegiate sporting event and learn more about inviting WWP veterans to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience, please contact Lis Garcia at Lis@themeridiangroup.com.
Injured veterans often face a long and emotional road to recovery. Hundreds of events honoring Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP) veterans are held each season, supporting injured service members as they work to cope with and understand their new normal. Together we can continue to empower our service members through the healing process and make every day Veterans Day.
This October, Pima Community College invited three local WWP warriors and their families to watch the Aztecs face off against Snow College. The sun was bright in Kino North Stadium, and fans were flushed from excitement and the heat of a hot Arizona fall day. At halftime, veterans Benny Spiller, Don Birkbeck and George Truesdale were welcomed onto the field, accompanied by attending family and friends. A hush fell across the audience as each service member stepped forward and their military accomplishments were read. The stadium erupted in applause and the veterans waved humbly, honored by the appreciation and gratitude of the crowd.
“It is an honor for Pima Community College Athletics to recognize these brave men and women at our football games,” said Raymond Suarez, sports information assistant for Pima Community College. “We dedicate halftime to show our appreciation for the sacrifices they've made in the armed forces and make sure to invite their family and friends to experience this with them. We also want to make sure it's another way for the Wounded Warrior Project representatives to connect with one another in the Tucson area.”
To host a game day event and learn more about inviting WWP veterans to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience, please contact Lis Garcia at Lis@themeridiangroup.com.
Monmouth University recently welcomed local WWP veteran, Ronn Schuck, and his family to their football game vs. Lehigh University. The air was surprisingly crisp for a summer afternoon, and his kids were all smiles as Schuck, the honorary captain for the day, performed the coin toss. At halftime, Monmouth Athletics Director Dr. Marilyn McNeil invited the whole family on-field in recognition of the veteran’s military service and sacrifice. The stadium erupted in applause, and the Schucks stood together with pride for the overwhelming appreciation shown for their loved one.
To host a collegiate sports event and learn more about inviting WWP veterans to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience, please contact Lis Garcia at Lis@themeridiangroup.com.
Since 2005, colleges and universities from coast to coast have been empowering WWP veterans and their families with game day experiences. Battling to overcome emotional and physical injuries, WWP veterans often feel isolated as they transition back to civilian life. Collegiate sporting events are a unique opportunity for our nation’s heroes to get out and about while experiencing firsthand the support and appreciation of their community.
As part of their “Heroes Among Us” promotion last fall, Rutgers University hosted a veteran and their family at every home football game. Among these families were local WWP veteran Dominick Kajewski and his young son. Kajewski buzzed with energy and excitement as he joined his fellow fans in cheering on the Scarlet Knights against Indiana. During a pause in the game, the announcer asked for the stadium’s attention as the warrior humbly walked to the end zone for his moment of recognition. One hand on his son’s shoulder and the other waving to the crowd, Kajewski was overwhelmed with pride as the stadium erupted in a standing ovation for their local hero.
To create a game day experience for warriors like Kajewski this 2017-18 season and learn more about inviting WWP veterans to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience, please contact Lis Garcia at Lis@themeridiangroup.com.
WWP strives to make the process of including injured service members in game day activations as turn key as possible. From choosing a date to crafting the experience, our team is ready to guide you toward a successful event. College athletics departments can transform events into a life-changing experience for wounded warriors in four easy steps:
To invite WWP veterans to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience at a collegiate sporting event this season, please contact Kate Read at Kate@themeridiangroup.com.
This past spring at a Point Loma Nazarene University baseball game, veterans were offered the chance to meet the team, take the field with starting players for the national anthem, and throw out the coveted ceremonial first pitch. Spirits were high on the bright San Diego day, as the crowd clapped and cheered in celebration of the wounded warriors. Filled with pride and awe, each veteran stepped up to the plate to throw a pitch and receive recognition. The dugouts of both teams were filled with smiling players as they jostled for the opportunity to catch the pitches and take photos with the group.
Veterans are not the only ones who benefit from these collegiate sporting events. “It is wonderful whenever PLNU has the privilege to host members of the armed forces,” says graduate assistant for athletics marketing & communications, Emily Jurenka. “The military is such a part of the community in San Diego and we are proud to have the opportunity to honor these brave men and women that have served our country.”
To host a collegiate sports event and learn more about inviting WWP veterans to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience, please contact Jenn Leone at Jenn@themeridiangroup.com.
During this year’s National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Convention, we were delighted to meet face to face with colleges and universities from across the country. Visitors to our booth included athletics departments already committed to hosting WWP events as part of their collegiate sports schedules, as well those eager to forge exciting new working relationships. We appreciate your enthusiasm and stopping by to discuss how creating unforgettable game day experiences boosts morale and leaves a lasting impression on injured service members.
Help us make the 2017-18 athletics year even more incredible! We are ready to brainstorm exciting ideas tailored to the unique needs and available resources of your athletics department. From pre-season scrimmages to major championships, every event is a fantastic opportunity to celebrate WWP veterans.
To learn more about inviting WWP veterans to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience, please contact Jenn Leone at Jenn@themeridiangroup.com.
Collegiate sporting events are an opportunity for colleges and universities to empower warriors by providing a venue that encourages veterans to engage with their communities and fellow wounded warriors.
This 2016-17 season, the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) organizers welcomed veterans and their families throughout their men’s and women’s basketball tournaments. From quarterfinals to championships, warriors were offered VIP courtside seats and a bag of WAC swag. Enjoying the game together allowed the attendees to bond over their affinity for sports and offered a setting for them to share stories and experiences with one another. When invited to center court for a moment of recognition, the veterans walked together and stood side by side as the audience applauded their military service and sacrifice. Amidst bright arena lights and a cheering crowd, these men and women were strengthened, not just by the respect of their community, but by the shared support of one another./p>
To create a game day experience to empower WWP veterans to connect with their peers, please contact Jenn Leone at Jenn@themeridiangroup.com.
Seton Hall University recently celebrated Army veteran Kevin Woodcheke at a Pirate’s men’s basketball evening game. During a pause in the action, the PA system crackled as a hush fell across Prudential Center and Woodcheke rose to receive recognition for his service. The silence was quickly consumed by roaring applause as the crowd jumped to their feet in overwhelming appreciation of Woodcheke’s accolades and sacrifice. His guests, an entourage of supportive co-workers, enthusiastically joined the cheers in honor of their friend.
Dan Ditusa, graduate assistant for Seton Hall Athletics Marketing & Promotions, worked with WWP to coordinate the event. “It has really made a huge impact on my life and even more so on the veterans that we are able to recognize,” Ditusa said.
To host a collegiate sports event and learn more about inviting WWP veterans to enjoy one-of-a-kind experiences, please contact Jenn Leone at Jenn@themeridiangroup.com.
The University of Michigan took an altruistic approach to the new year by honoring Navy veteran Rebecca Felkey during their January 4 men’s basketball game vs. Penn State. With her loyal service dog in tow, Felkey walked proudly to center court at Crisler Center as the Wolverines invited her to receive recognition for her military service. She offered a humble, appreciative wave while the crowd erupted in a standing ovation, expressing gratitude for her sacrifice and accomplishments.
Plan now to create a spring sports game day experience that empowers our service members. To host an event and learn more about inviting WWP veterans to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience, please contact Amara Betoney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In January, the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) Prairie Stars celebrated the tenacious spirit of injured service members during Wounded Warrior Night at the men’s and women’s basketball doubleheader. It may have been a bitter winter day outside, but inside the Recreation and Athletic Center five local service members were welcomed with warmth and gratitude from spectators and team members in recognition of their military accomplishments. The honorees, accompanied by one faithful service dog, received a standing ovation as they were invited on-court to be personally greeted and thanked by players and staff from the UIS men’s basketball team. With special courtside seats to catch all of the action, the veterans served as the guests of honor for both the women’s and men’s basketball games.
Army veteran Ashti Dawson was among the five honored service members. “Attending this event as a veteran as well as a current UIS student was one of my greatest honors to date!” said Dawson. “The amount of pride exemplified from the audience, the basketball teams, as well as the support staff was absolutely wonderful, warming, and positively enduring. I am beyond thankful to have had this opportunity! Thank you, UIS and WWP!!”
To host a basketball event and learn more about inviting WWP veterans to enjoy a one-of-a-kind experience, please contact Amara Betoney at email@example.com.
This season, Northwestern University stepped up to the plate to honor a local injured veteran at every home basketball game. Bright lights reflected off the basketball court as Sterling Pollard entered Welsh-Ryan Arena and was escorted on-court for the national anthem. As the anthem played, Sterling was filled with a sense of pride after being recognized publicly for his service while his military accomplishments were broadcast to an enthusiastic crowd.
Plan now to create a game day experience that empowers our service members on their journeys to recovery. For more information, please contact Amara Betoney at firstname.lastname@example.org.