WWW.USVETERANSMAGAZINE.COM SUMMER 2020 U.S. VETERANS MAGAZINE 97
Service & Sports Heroes
sports helped save his life. Although I couldnt be a regular Special Forces guy, I still had the ability to help lead, said Vera. He also discussed the bond that adaptive sports bring to the wounded warrior community. Although its great to bring home the gold medal, I dont really think that's what it's about-it's more about overcoming adversity and helping others overcome adversity, Vera said. Among the other honored guests of the night were Pro Football Hall of Fame members Kevin Greene, Curtis Martin, Mike Haynes, Curly Culp, Harry Carson, Morten Andersen and Rickey Jackson. Greene also held a fireside chat for the attendees, where he spoke about his time serving in the U.S. Army and his reverence for the wounded warriors playing on the U.S. Invictus team. They volunteer, first of all, to serve our country in the combined armed forces, and then despite all the adversity that theyve experienced and are presently experiencing theyre now becoming heroes of the field of sports, said Greene. Theyre being heroes for us now on a different stage, on an international stage, representing this country in these sporting events. The fireside chat came to a playful close as Greene was asked if he would take Tom Brady on his team, to which he replied does a fat baby fart? The main event of the night featured a ireside chat between NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker. Baker opened up the discussion by reciting Invictus by William Ernest Henley. Henley wrote the poem in in the late 1870s after losing a leg to tuberculosis. The poem was meant to define fortitude in the face of adversity, and strength in the face of permanent disability. Throughout the fireside chat, the long relationship between the NFL and the military was discussed, as well as the fact that three NFL players-including an NFL commissioner-have received the Congressional Medal of Honor. Goodell then touched on his 2008 United Service Organizations (USO) tour that brought him to Iraq, Afghanistan and Kuwait to visit deployed soldiers, saying, I was just amazed at what these people do for us. The men and women in our military are just extraordinary, added Goodell. He went on to say that the 10 days he spent on the tour were some of the most inspiring days of his life, adding that the debt which is owed to U.S. soldiers for what they sacrifice could never be repaid. The two also discussed Goodells contributions to the veteran community, including his support of the Merging Vets & Players (MVP) organization, which helps transitioning service members and professional athletes navigate life outside of uniform together. When asked about his thoughts on the Invictus Games, Goodell told Baker that he didnt think there was anything more inspiring. I dont think that theres anything more important in the world to show people that you do overcome those problems, you do overcome those challenges, and youre doing something really positive in the world and inspiring people who are watching you as athletes on the world stage, Goodell said. When you combine football, athletes and our veterans, thats a magical combination in my view. The night ended with the silent auction of NFL memorabilia and VIP picture opportunities. Over $150,000 was raised by 256 attendees and all proceeds will fund the U.S. Invictus Team Training Camp at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Campus in Canton, Ohio. icial sponsors of the event included Caliber Home Loans, Seeger Weiss, Worlds Greatest Videos, Aetna, CVS Health, GEICO and Loews Hotels. Due to COVID-19, the 2020 Invictus Games have been postponed until 2021. For more information, visit invictusgamesfoundation.org.
David Baker and Roger Goodell speak after the event. Kevin Greene holds a fireside chat with George Veras, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Producer of the Pro Football Hall of Fame.Previous Page