Theodore's World: Wounded Vets Super Bowl-bound

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February 03, 2006

Wounded Vets Super Bowl-bound

A hand full of Super Bowl XL tickets, with a street-value close to $250,000, will be given to injured Marines who served in operations Enduring Freedom or Iraqi Freedom who are now recovering in hospitals or working in the National Capitol Region. The tickets were donated by the Cleveland Browns. Photo by: Cpl. Justin P. Lago

A few dozen combat-wounded leathernecks recovering in National Capital Region hospitals are bound for Detroit to attend the biggest sports event of the year.

The Cleveland Browns organization, in unity with the National Football League, has donated 50 Super Bowl tickets to Marine veterans who received combat injuries while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.

The block of tickets, which has a street value of nearly $250,000, was given to Manpower and Reserve Affairs to be disseminated to the Marines in the region who meet the medical criteria for attending to the game.

“Our biggest challenge was to remain faithful to the specifics of the Cleveland Browns organization criteria for choosing who can go,” said Maj. Francis Piccoli, Marine 4 Life public affairs officer. “We narrowed it down to 33 injured Marines who are on an in-patient status in the National Capital Region who met all the specific requirements. We have to give the tickets to those folks who can physically go and don’t require constant medical attention.”

The NFL will officially recognizing the Marines’ presence with an announcement during the nationally broadcast football championship.

Anyone watching the Super Bowl during that first break will see the United States Marine Corps,” said Piccoli. “The community relations tie-in gives us the opportunity to inform a worldwide audience of Marines who have served their country and served it well.”

“It’s exciting to be able to go to the Super Bowl,” said Cpl. Alexander Sidles, an administration clerk with Marine Corps Combat Development Com-mand. Sidles is one of two Marine veterans recovering aboard Quantico who has been nominated for a seat at the game, which will feature the American Football Conference champion Pittsburg Steelers squaring off with the National Football Conference champions Seattle Seahawks.

“I know that we will all be well taken care of while we are traveling to the game and while we are there,” Sidles added. “I know there are 50 of us going to the game but there are many more people working behind the scenes to make this happen for us. We just don’t see that, and I appreciate it.”

Each Marine attending the trip will be provided with $50 spending money and will also receive a per diem payment for the Detroit area. The funds were provided through the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Agency via the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund.

After the Marines in the National Capitol Region receive their tickets, remaining tickets will go to Marines stationed near the Detroit metro area assigned to support the logistics of the trip.

“The Marines deserve this trip,” said Piccoli. “It is their day to just sit back and enjoy their day of recognition and a day at the game.”

* Mudville Gazette

Posted by Wild Thing at February 3, 2006 12:07 AM