Operation Warrior Wishes honors veterans at Bears-Giants game - KMSP-TV

Operation Warrior Wishes honors veterans at Bears-Giants game

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Thursday night was Operation Warrior Wishes' 50th tailgate party, hosting the heroes off the field: soldiers and wounded warriors. It all started when a father and son decided they wanted to give back. Ultimately, they made the choice to honor the men and women who protect our freedom.

Snapshots and home video show 26-year-old Sergeant Cameron Crouch stepping foot on Soldier and Wrigley Fields for the first time.

"I was in Iraq in 2006, from 2006 to 2007, in Baghdad," said Crouch.

Crouch lost both legs and suffered brain damage while serving in Iraq. He and 35-year-old Specialist Tim Morehouse were the guests of honor at a tailgate party hosted by Operation Warrior Wishes.

"They've had one thing in common and that is they've been genuine, they've genuinely wanted to help and they haven't wanted anything out of it for themselves or anything else," said Crouch.

"We actually banded up with wounded warriors and decided to take wounded veterans to every single stadium across the country. We saved $25,000 of our own money, put it aside, just made the schedule and didn't know if it would work or not, sat down, figured it out and ran with it," said Craig Steichen, Founder of Operation Warrior Wishes.

Steichen and his son started Operation Warrior Wishes last year. Their mission of taking soldiers to stadiums was supposed to last one football season but thanks to the support of coach Mike Ditka, Operation Warrior Wishes is here to stay.

"He actually gave us a significant check to fund it. We didn't take it," said Steichen. Instead the duo sought sponsors and donations and made their mission a charity.

Since then they've honored 284 soldiers at dozens of stadiums, including Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts where Operation Warrior Wishes introduced 11 wounded veterans to survivors of the Boston Marathon, many who also lost limbs.

"It's an amazing feeling. You don't really think people, sometimes you don't feel like they care but you see so many organizations that reach out to veterans and do everything to help, it makes you feel appreciative because they're taking time out of their day to spend with us," said Specialist Tim Morehouse.

From here, Operation Warrior Wishes will head to Kansas City. The calendar is packed for the group including two special deliveries.

Sergeant Cameron Crouch and his wife are expecting their first son in December and Operation Warrior Wishes co-founder Matt Steichen is also expecting his first child.

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