WZTV FOX 17 - Top Stories
After 15 weeks, they actually did it and Monday night they made their final stop in Music City, giving a once in a lifetime opportunity to some very deserving Fort Campbell veterans.
Specialist Fabian Salazar and staff sergeant Derek Genck have more reason to appreciate a peaceful night at the stadium than most.
When times were at their worst in Iraq and Afghanistan they weren't sure if they'd ever set foot on American soil again.
"I got blown up in an IED." Salazar said. "I broke my right femur."
"I was hit with shrapnel from a rocket in Balad, Iraq in 2006," Genck said.
But Monday night, they were back on American soil…and not just on any American soil, they were on the NFL gridiron, the same grass where heroes tread and legends are made.
"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," Salazar said.
"Never in the world would I think this would ever happen," Genck said.
And during a break in the Monday Night Football game between the Titans and the Jets, they were honored on the 10-yard line and each given a game ball.
When they hoisted them in the air, 70,000 fans showed them who the real heroes are, and just how much their service and sacrifice are appreciated.
"This is by far the best thing that's ever happened to me," Genck said.
It was all thanks to Craig and Matt Steichen, a father and son from Chicago on a mission to visit all 32 NFL stadiums in a single season.
What started as a father son trip turned into a calling. At every stop, they take two wounded warriors to the game with them.
"They go through hell and back and this is just a small token of our appreciation for what these guys do for us," Matt Steichen said.
Their father-son odyssey started in their hometown of Chicago. From there they went to New York City and then Denver and so on, visiting 31 stadiums in 15 weeks. And Music City was the last stop on this incredible journey.
"We've gone 40,953 miles in 103 days," Craig Steichen said.
32 stadiums in half as many weeks meant the Steichens had to hit several cities in one weekend several times.
"There were two stretches where we had six games in nine days," Craig Steichen said. "We were home 32 hours in a week."
But no matter how tired they were, giving up was never an option.
"If this journey was about football, I would have quit after about week three," Matt Steichen said. "But I've never once wanted to quit because I know that there's two guys waiting for me at every single stadium and I get to make a difference in their lives."
"To go out of their way to help people, strangers to them, it's phenomenal," Genck said.
But for the Steichens, moments like the ones they shared with the veterans out there on that field made it all worth it.
"Let's put it this way," Matt Steichen said. "I had to take a couple of minutes to compose myself after that. It's pretty awesome."
The Steichens say they're not stopping there. After a much-deserved break they plan to continue taking wounded warriors to events in their home towns next season and expand from football to other events.
You can learn more about their efforts by visiting the Fox Links section of this website.
Wednesday, December 19 2012, 11:07 AM CST
Body found in Percy Priest Lake
May 25, 2013 20:14 GMT
SMYRNA, Tenn. (AP) -- Authorities say a body has been found in Percy Priest Lake in Middle Tennessee.
WSMV-TV (http://bit.ly/16gYKys) reports officials with Metro Police, the Office of Emergency Management and Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency were at the scene Saturday at Hole In The Wall Island. The body was reported to authorities about 11 a.m.
TWRA officials say they believe the deceased man is a boater who disappeared in the lake two weeks ago.
Police said the agencies coordinated with each other to get a boat in the water and recover the body.
Information from: WSMV-TV, http://www.wsmv.com/
US durable goods orders rise 3.3 percent in April
WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. orders for long-lasting manufactured goods rebounded in April, buoyed by more demand for military and civilian aircraft and an increase in business investment.
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